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The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018. One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

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03 May 2017

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 programme announced

The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018. One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Given my first chance to programme a work at Glyndebourne, my thoughts quickly turned to this neglected masterpiece. It’s remarkable that there has never been a UK production of Vanessa, the first opera by such a popular composer - and the man who wrote the Adagio for Strings. Sixty years on from its 1958 premiere, I’m delighted that Glyndebourne will give it the UK showcase it so richly deserves.’

The new production will be directed by British director Keith Warner, fulfilling his long-held ambition to stage the piece and marking his Glyndebourne directorial debut. Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša returns to Glyndebourne to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The cast includes British soprano Emma Bell in the title role, alongside Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol.

The second new production for Festival 2018 is Claude Debussy’s only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande. The new production will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the in-demand Norwegian director Stefan Herheim, and is conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati. Leading the cast are Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Mélisande and American baritone John Chest as Pelléas. British baritone Christopher Purves returns to Glyndebourne in the role of Golaud.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 opens with the Festival debut of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Originally staged for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, Annilese Miskimmon’s production is the first staging of the work at Glyndebourne. Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, his first appearance at Glyndebourne since he made his debut conducting Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne Festival 2014. Taking on one of the greatest soprano roles in the repertoire is Moldovian soprano Olga Busuioc as Cio-Cio-San. The role of Lieutenant BF Pinkerton will be performed by American tenor Joshua Guerrero, with American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki.

Completing the 2018 Festival season are revivals of three of the most popular productions in Glyndebourne’s recent history. Offering a chance to compare and contrast one of Handel’s finest operas with one of his great oratorios are revivals of David McVicar’s ground-breaking 2005 production of Giulio Cesare and Barrie Kosky’s smash-hit 2015 staging of Saul.

A number of artists involved in the original Giulio Cesare production return for next summer’s revival, including director David McVicar, conductor William Christie and British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the title role. American soprano Joélle Harvey takes the role of Cleopatra. Barrie Kosky returns to Glyndebourne to oversee the first Glyndebourne Festival revival of Saul, with Laurence Cummings conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. German baritone Markus Brück will perform the role of Saul with British tenor Allan Clayton as Jonathan and British countertenor Iestyn Davies returning to the role of David, which he performed in the 2015 premiere.

Completing the season is the first Glyndebourne revival of British director Richard Jones’s stylish and original take on Strauss’s masterpiece, Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Robin Ticciati. British soprano Kate Royal stars as the Marschallin, as she did in the original 2014 staging, opposite American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Octavian. British bass Brindley Sherratt performs the role of Baron Ochs.

Glyndebourne Festival runs from 19 May - 26 August 2018.

Fifty years of the Glyndebourne Tour in 2018

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Massenet’s Cendrillon forms the highlight of the Glyndebourne Tour, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Cendrillon will be directed by Fiona Shaw, who previously directed a critically acclaimed production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne.

The second fully-staged opera in the 2018 Tour is a revival of Tom Cairns’s opulent production of Verdi’s La traviata, which had its premiere at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

There will also be a return for Behind the Curtain - a new style of event introduced in 2016 with Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain, to take audiences behind the scenes on the creation of opera. On this occasion, the event will take an in-depth look at La traviata, with performance extracts from the cast and orchestra of the main Tour 2018 production.

Glyndebourne Tour runs from 13 October - 1 December 2018.

Education and outreach

Recruitment will get underway in 2018 for Glyndebourne’s latest large-scale main stage community opera. The latest new commission will be composed by Howard Moody and directed by Simon Iorio. It will be delivered in partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and staged at Glyndebourne in March 2019.

Also in 2018, a new Young Composer-in-Residence will join Glyndebourne. The position is a three year, part-time residency for an emerging composer, giving the holder an unrivalled opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of an opera house and observe the creation of new operas, as well as create new work of their own.

Based within Glyndebourne’s pioneering education department, the Young Composer-in-Residence will also involve themselves in Glyndebourne’s broader artistic, learning and audience development activities. An annual bursary of £17,000 is provided to cover time, expenses and any work composed for Glyndebourne during the residency. Recruitment for the position is open now via glyndebourne.com

Glyndebourne will crown the latest winners of its two biennial awards for young singers in 2018. The Gus Christie Award is for a young singer who has demonstrated outstanding vocal talent, while the Bill Weston Young Singers Award is for an exceptionally promising singer who would benefit from financial support to continue their development. Both awards were launched in 2016 to mark 30 years since the formation of Glyndebourne’s education department.

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