On Sunday we went to Glyndebourne. Now there is a unique experience. For those of you who don’t know, Glyndebourne is a very strange and special institution in England. It is an opera festival. It started back in 1934 when an unfeasably rich man by the name of John Christie decided his wife Audrey (an opera singer) should have a place to perform near home rather than having to commute the long distance into London. So he built an opera house. In his back yard. He invited his friends round to here the little wife sing and it just sort of grew from there. Now the third generation of Christies is in charge and the original opera house has been demolished to make way for the lovely new one.
Before I go any further, just stop to think about this. The man has an opera house in his garden. World famous conductors and singers come to perform; the London Philharmonic was performing in our opera.
Ok. After having spent the previous day at Lodge Farm, we all piled into the car for the two hour drive to the delightful village of Glynde. In our best evening dress, of course.
We arrived at the venue at about three o’clock and after parking amidst the Range Rovers and Jaguars we perambulated to the main area.
After depositing our baggage in the cloak room we walked through Mr Christie’s lovely music room and out into the garden. The scene that greeted us was surreal. The lawn was covered with people in Black Tie and evening gowns milling around, sipping champagne. In the field behind the lawn were sheep. Some picnickers had brought tables and chairs and one group had a long table with two candelabras on it.
Can you picture it? I doubt it. I shall be posting pictures as soon as I get them developed.
After wandering around the garden for a bit we took our places in the theatre for the first act of Don Giovanni. The theatre is not grand like Covent Garden or the Coliseum but it is modern and refreshingly understated in its decor. The seats were very comfortable and spacious.
The lights dimmed, Sir Andrew Davis entered and the overture commenced…
About an hour and a half later we emerged into the warm evening air and made our way to the restaurant. The service was excellent, the wine (from New Zealand and South Africa) was lovely and the Salmon was very nice. Suitably stuffed from our three courses we stumbled into the shop before the start of the second act. Because of the people who go to Glyndebourne everything is extrememely expensive. It’s like the airport, except worse. After buying a £9 mug we took our seats for the second act. (Oh yeah, that’s why we’re here, I forgot)
After much clapping we boarded the coach that would take us to Lewes train station, and thence to London.
Glyndebourne is like nothing I have ever experienced before and probably never will again. It is something only a select few people can experience and I am very grateful to Malcolm for taking us.
Kath and I are going to Ireland in a couple of weeks. I know I haven’t told you about Venice yet but I will try to get around to it before we leave. Here is a sneak preview photo to whet your appetite.