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Commentary

31 Aug 2020

Glyndebourne announces first indoor performances since lockdown, and unveils 2021 Festival repertoire

Glyndebourne has announced plans for a ‘staycation’ series of socially-distanced indoor performances, starting on 10 October 2020.

Above: Glyndebourne Opera House

Photo credit: Charlotte Boulton

 

The events are in place of the company's annual autumn tour which was due to start at Glyndebourne on 9 October and visit Canterbury, Woking, Milton Keynes, Liverpool and Norwich before returning home for Christmas concerts. The ongoing restrictions on the size and scale of indoor performances mean that it is no longer possible to present the season as planned. Instead Glyndebourne will remain in Sussex with a programme of indoor concerts and small-scale opera in front of a reduced audience.

The autumn season opens with Glyndebourne’s new production of In the Market for Love, a new version by Stephen Plaice of Jacques Offenbach’s Mesdames de la Halle. It became the first full-length opera to be performed to a live audience since lockdown when it premiered in the Glyndebourne gardens at the start of August. It will be followed by performances of a reduced, semi-staged version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and five festive Christmas Concerts.

Stephen Langridge, Glyndebourne’s Artistic Director, said: ‘For more than 50 years the Glyndebourne Tour has been a crucial part of our artistic programme, allowing us to bring world-class opera to thousands of people around the country, and continue our commitment to talent development. We are deeply disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented us from going on the road this year, but we remain determined to find ways to keep performing. We have learned many useful lessons about how to present opera in a way that’s safe for audiences and performers throughout this summer’s special and memorable run of concerts and opera in our gardens, and now we are excited to be able to apply this knowledge and welcome audiences back into our beautiful opera house for the touring equivalent of a “staycation”.’

Sarah Hopwood, Managing Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘We’re delighted to be resuming indoor performances but as long as social distancing is in place the situation will continue to be incredibly challenging for theatres like ours whose business relies on a healthy box office. It is vital that the industry is given as much support as possible to ensure its survival through this crisis and we remain incredibly grateful to our members, donors, staff and the general public for their backing as we navigate a path to reopening the doors of the opera house.’

The autumn performances will be the first to take place inside Glyndebourne’s auditorium since lockdown. Following the cancellation of the 2020 Glyndebourne Festival, the company launched a digital festival of weekly, full-length opera broadcasts and invited everyone, everywhere to enjoy its productions for free during lockdown and throughout the summer. Between 24 May and 7 September, when the series ends, Glyndebourne Open House will have broadcast over 2,500 hours of world-class opera, attracting more than 750,000 views.

This was followed in July by the launch of a mini-festival of outdoor events in the Glyndebourne gardens, which continues until 13 September.

Glyndebourne Festival 2021

Glyndebourne has also announced the repertoire for the 2021 Glyndebourne Festival, including the company’s first ever production of Verdi’s early masterpiece Luisa Miller, a devastating tragedy fuelled by jealousy and desire.

The opera will be staged by Christof Loy, one of the most sought-after directors of his generation, who returns to Glyndebourne for the first time since 2002, working alongside conductor Enrique Mazzola and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Starring as the country girl Luisa is the award-winning Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan, returning to Glyndebourne following acclaimed performances in La traviata and Rinaldo. Sharing the role of her lover Rodolfo are American tenor Charles Castronovo and Italian tenor Ivan Magri, both making Glyndebourne debuts.

Boasting some of the most striking ensembles that Verdi would ever create, the production will showcase the Glyndebourne Chorus, one of international opera's foremost ensembles.

The 2021 Glyndebourne Festival opens on 20 May with a new production of Janáček’s shatteringly powerful opera, Kát’a Kabanová, a classic of the 20th century that hasn’t been performed at Glyndebourne in nearly 20 years. It will be only the second staging of the opera in Glyndebourne’s history and is directed by Damiano Michieletto, making his Glyndebourne directorial debut.

Robin Ticciati, in his eighth season as Music Director of Glyndebourne, conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra and an impressive cast led by Czech soprano Kateřina Knĕžíková in the title role of a young woman forced to choose between love and life itself. British tenor David Butt Philip performs the role of her lover Boris, with Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Dalayman as her domineering mother-in-law, Kabanicha.

Robin Ticciati, Glyndebourne’s Music Director, said:Kát’a Kabanová is a gift for music theatre - a story that cuts straight to the heart of the human condition. Janáček’s twentieth-century score has the searing lyricism of Puccini and the taut rigorous intensity of Beethoven and yet he remains a voice that is totally unique in Western music. I am thrilled to embark on our new production with Damiano and explore this extraordinary work. The mixture of folk song, a huge orchestral world that summons all the sounds of nature and a harrowing tale makes this one of those perfect operas’

The third new production of the 2021 season is Rossini’s sparkling and sophisticated comedy, Il turco in Italia.

Following her critically acclaimed production of Don Pasquale, Mariame Clément returns to Glyndebourne to direct the first new production of the opera at Glyndebourne in 50 years. It will be conducted by Giancarlo Andretta, making his Glyndebourne debut.

Leading the ensemble cast as the man-eating Fiorilla is Russian soprano Elena Tsallagova, last seen at Glyndebourne in the title role of 2016’s The Cunning Little Vixen, with Italian baritone Mattia Olivieri as the poet Prosdocimo and Italian bass Andrea Mastroni as ladies’ man Selim.

Among the productions being revived next summer is Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s timeless production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, back at Glyndebourne for the first time since 2009. The production will be conducted by Robin Ticciati and unites an impressive cast that includes New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill and Finnish soprano Miina-Liisa Värelä as the doomed lovers, Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Brangäne and Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea as King Marke.

The season is completed with revivals of two Mozart operas -Die Zauberflöte and Così fan tutte.

First seen at the 2019 Glyndebourne Festival, Barbe & Doucet’s bewitching, fantasy-filled production of Die Zauberflöte will be conducted by German conductor Constantin Trinks for its first revival. American tenor Paul Appleby performs the role of Tamino, with German baritone Johannes Kammler as Papageno, American bass Solomon Howard as Sarastro and Russian soprano Galina Benevich as the Queen of the Night.

A much-loved Glyndebourne classic, Nicholas Hytner’s staging of Così fan tutte finds both the charm and the darkness in Mozart’s opera. The celebrated Italian conductor Riccardo Minasi makes his Glyndebourne debut conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and an international cast of young singers that includes Swedish soprano Ida Falk Winland as Fiordiligi, American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Lauricella as Dorabella, Russian lyric tenor Alexey Neklyudov as Ferrando and British baritone Huw Montague Rendall as Guglielmo.

Glyndebourne Festival 2021 runs from 20 May - 29 August 2021. Visit glyndebourne.com

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