David’s seasonal message

As 2013 draws to a close and the Glyndebourne touring company heads back to Sussex I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make this year so memorable and to wish you a very happy Christmas. As we begin the festive season I find myself reflecting on this year’s achievements with pride and looking forward to the challenges and excitement of 2014.

A year of anniversaries

2013 has been a big year for operatic anniversaries. Theatres across the world have honoured the work of Verdi, Wagner and Britten – three musical giants whose most important works were written for the stage. Glyndebourne played its own part in those celebrations.   

In our summer Festival we revived Richard Jones’s warm-hearted production of Falstaff, this time featuring the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, whose period instruments re-created the sound world that Verdi himself would have recognised.  

Wagner featured in cinema showings of our celebrated production of Tristan und Isolde. Running alongside our Tour, these screenings enabled audiences around the country to see a show that is too massive in scale to take on the road but works brilliantly on the big screen.

For the Britten centenary we had two bites of the cherry. This autumn we  toured Fiona Shaw’s new production of The Rape of Lucretia. This is an opera which is notoriously hard to stage but has been gripping audiences all over the country. For the 2013 Festival we revived Michael Grandage’s wonderful production of Billy Budd. Its run culminated in a semi-staged performance at the Proms which Andrew Davis said was one of the most extraordinary concerts he had ever conducted. Quite something given his cv ...

The end of an era

2013 also brought Vladimir Jurowski’s 13 year tenure as Glyndebourne’s Music Director to a close. When he took up the post in 2001 Vladimir had a long and typically eclectic wish-list of operas to conduct at Glyndebourne. It is remarkable how many of these ambitions we actually achieved together. The range of his work has been extraordinary – from Mozart to Eotvos – and his commitment to the company outstanding. It was entirely in keeping that he should bow out not with a grand opera on the main stage but by conducting a new work by our Young Composer in Residence, Luke Styles, featuring some of the most talented members of our chorus and presented in one of our  studio spaces. We will miss him tremendously, but I am delighted to say that plans for his return to the Festival are already underway.

Reaching out

The range and breadth of audiences enjoying our work in 2013 continued to expand. 93,000 people attended our live Festival performances this summer (which played to 96.2% of capacity). A further 127,000 accessed our six Festival productions in cinemas and through free streamings via guardian.com. We extended our Glyndebourne on Tour schools matinee performances right across the country. This and our ‘Encore’ week at Glyndebourne meant that we had the pleasure of performing live to some 6,500 wonderfully enthusiastic schoolchildren between October and December.

We also continue to engage directly with people of all ages in our Education work. Orlando Gough’s community opera, Imago, was performed on the main stage at Glyndebourne in March. It featured over 100 members of the local community alongside professional singers and instrumentalists, and won approval from both audiences and critics. It was shortlisted for the stage works category of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) 2013 British Composer Awards – a great thrill for all involved.

Ring in the new

As we approach our 80th anniversary in 2014 we look forward to the start of Robin Ticciati’s tenure as our new Music Director – just 10 years after he first arrived at Glyndebourne as an assistant conductor on the Tour. Robin sets the tone for some of the repertoire he will conduct in the future with new productions of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and the first performances at Glyndebourne of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. He will be working with one of the most celebrated directors working in opera today, Richard Jones, as well as one of our most exciting young directing talents, Frederic Wake Walker. Our third new production is of one of the most popular of all operatic works, La Traviata, led by the great Verdian, Sir Mark Elder, and directed by Tom Cairns.

New York, New York!

But before we reach next summer there is one more exciting date in the diary. In February Michael Grandage’s Billy Budd will visit the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York with Sir Mark Elder, the Glyndebourne Chorus, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and most of this summer’s soloists. It is a wonderful honour for us to be invited to appear at BAM, and if the reception for the show in Brooklyn is as warm as it was here this summer, it should be quite an event.

I hope that you will find much to enjoy in our programme for 2014. We look forward to welcoming you at our performances and events at Glyndebourne, at our touring theatres or in a cinema. Thank you for supporting us in 2013, and from all of us at Glyndebourne a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

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