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Why we donated to Glyndebourne

Glyndebourne Members Peter and Helen Patterson tells us what motivated their kind donation.

We are so grateful to everyone who generously donates to Glyndebourne, however big or small the gift.

We caught up with Members Peter and Helen Patterson to find out more about how they fell in love with Glyndebourne, and what motivated their kind donation.


Can you tell us about your first visit to Glyndebourne?

Peter: I came in 1985, before I met Helen, to see Albert Herring. One thing I can remember was that it was pouring with rain, but a wonderful day when we got there. I knew about Glyndebourne before through the proms, and of course Glyndebourne always did and still do an annual visit, so you could see how special they were. It certainly gave me the appetite for it.

It was a wonderful discovery of an unfamiliar opera. I remember the production, so witty and beautifully laid out, a Peter Hall production, probably while he was Glyndebourne’s Artistic Director, and Albert Herring was sung by John Graham Hall and Nancy by Jean Rigby. It was full of great character actors-singers, a parody of village life in the 1950s – the village fete and the local committee organising it. It is very funny and very witty. We saw the production again when we took Helen’s parents in 2008.

Helen: I loved Glyndebourne from my first visit, and I am still bowled over every time we go. I met Peter in 1989, and we think my first visit was in 1992. We saw Jenufa, and people were beautifully dressed. I don’t know that much about opera but I have never had a bad experience.


Helen: Peter joined the waiting list in 1988 and we finally became members in 2006, which happened to be the year we were moving out of London to Cardiff. But there was no chance we were giving membership up just because we had moved further away. It has been well worth it.

Peter: We gradually started to increase the number of operas that we came to each summer initially twice, then 4 or 5 times, and then in 2018 started coming to all 6. It started when we applied for tickets to Die Meistersinger. We did not expect to get them and so applied for an additional opera – just in case!  Of course, we got the tickets, and we have increased the frequency of our visits ever since. 

We usually try to spread our visits through the summer, but sometimes try to book two consecutive performances in August and stay somewhere locally. In the last few years, we have often done this double over the final weekend of the season. And of course in 2019 we got to see the fireworks to mark the 25th anniversary of the new theatre. 

We saw Rinaldo on the final evening, then fireworks on the lawn for the 25th Anniversary and it was really special. It was a wonderful way to end the season.

What motivated you to support Glyndebourne, first by donating tickets in 2020, and then becoming a regular supporter as part of the Ebert Room Club?

Helen – Glyndebourne has become such a central feature of our summer and we get so much pleasure out of it. It feels like coming home again the first time we come back each year. It is all done in such a friendly welcoming manner and you always know that everything is going to be done well, and whole-heartedly, with the highest professional standards – from the performances themselves to the friendly service from the staff. 

We thought if we can’t come this year, we felt it would be better if the money was used by Glyndebourne, so that they are better placed for the future. We have had no end of wonderful days there and we would like it to be there for other people, for future generations. Initially, we donated the ticket money, we had spent it several months earlier after all. For the long term, getting out of COVID will take many years, so giving on a long-term basis, to support the singers and staff is vital.

We also really loved the streaming through last summer, and enjoyed getting dressed up with our picnic for some of the performances.  We are keen to do whatever we can to help Glyndebourne keep going.

We are currently asking for donations to our Annual Fund, which will go towards essential upgrades to our backstage systems, allowing us to stay at the forefront of opera.

During online booking for Festival 2021, you will be invited to donate, and we would be so grateful for your support, at any level.

As a way of saying thank you to donors, we offer a range of benefits – starting with Ebert Room Club membership for donations of +£1000 – find out more about giving levels and benefits.

If you have any questions about donations we would love to hear from you – email our Development Manager, Tanya Richardson –

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