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Introducing... Glyndebourne's Christmas Concert 2022

Chorus Director Aidan Oliver reflects back on the events of 2022 and introduces the Glyndebourne Christmas Concert.

Conductor and Chorus Director Aidan Oliver reflects back on the events of 2022 and introduces the Glyndebourne Christmas Concert…

This concert brings down the curtain on a long and wonderful season for us here at Glyndebourne, one that began back in February with our youth opera Pay the Piper. Hot on its heels, Chorus rehearsals began in April and since then our magnificent Chorus have given hundreds of performances, both in our summer Festival and our autumn Tour to Milton Keynes, Canterbury, Norwich and Liverpool, together with our Tour Orchestra – and now back at Glyndebourne.

Aidan Oliver conducting the Christmas Concert in 2021. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

This concert provides the perfect homecoming for us as we bring the year to a close, and hopefully ushers in the start of your Christmas celebrations in style.

So what can you expect from our programme today? Well, the great irony for any conductor planning a Christmas concert is that you generally have to begin the task in July. So this year I opened my notebook and (wiping the sweat from my brow) scribbled ‘Xmas concert ideas’ on quite literally the hottest day in UK history, ever.

So if there is a distinctly sunny character to some of my repertoire choices, you will understand! One of our carols will take us to the beach in Hawaii, another to the Caribbean; we also visit South Africa, in honour of the five wonderful South African singers who have starred in the Glyndebourne Chorus this year.

Their voices and inspiration in our midst have been nothing short of sensational, something I really wanted to celebrate in this final joyous celebration.

The Christmas Concert, 2021. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

One musical genius who looms large at Glyndebourne in 2022-23 is the French composer Francis Poulenc, whose three wonderful operas are all being performed over these two seasons. So for Christmas we also have music from his exuberant Gloria: no one captures celestial joy with quite such panache, rapture and wit as Monsieur Poulenc. The piece was apparently inspired by the sight of monks playing football. You are in for an exquisite treat.

The Christmas Concert, 2021. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

We are particularly delighted that the wonderful young singers of Glyndebourne Youth Opera will also have a starring role today. They have made a habit of rather stealing the show in our Christmas concerts. This year they will tug the heartstrings with a beautiful lullaby carol from Poland, in solidarity with the displaced families of Ukraine and those who have opened their homes and hearts to give them shelter, kindness and hope.

Add to this a sparkling selection of orchestral showpieces, operatic highlights and light music classics, and you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable concert.

our Christmas Concerts are on stage from 10 – 11 December

Image credits: Header illustration © Katie Ponder | Glyndebourne Christmas Concert 2021 photos by Richard Hubert Smith

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