Tour includes cinema screenings for first time

Tour includes cinema screenings for first time

New-look Glyndebourne Tour includes cinema screenings for first time

This autumn Glyndebourne’s annual tour hits the road with a new-look that for the first time sees cinema screenings taking place alongside on-stage performances. The move is part of a wider revamp that marks the most significant change to the Tour model in more than forty years.

As well as offering people a more affordable way to experience opera on their doorstep, the addition of cinema screenings means that in future Glyndebourne will be able to take its largest opera productions on the road in a digital format. Currently the scale of some Glyndebourne productions makes it impossible for them to be staged in regional theatres, as is the case for David McVicar’s production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare from the 2005 Glyndebourne Festival which will be the first production to be taken in to cinemas as part of the Glyndebourne Tour.

Other changes to the Tour model include an increased number of performances for schools and an extension of subsidised family tickets to encourage the next generation of opera fans.  Glyndebourne’s Opera Land website has also been developed to offer young audience members an interactive introduction to the operas on stage.

In addition, for the first time, Glyndebourne will tour a chamber opera; The Yellow Sofa, composed by Glyndebourne’s first Composer in Residence, Julian Philips and directed by Frederick Wake Walker, artistic director of The Opera Group. Next year’s chamber opera will be a new commission called Captain Blood’s Revenge, aimed specifically at younger audiences aged seven to ten.

As an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, Glyndebourne receives Arts Council investment to support its touring and education programmes. 

Sally Abbott, south east Regional Director, Arts Council England, says: ‘The Arts Council’s vision is to make great art accessible to everyone, which is why Glyndebourne’s plans to create new ways for people to experience opera are so exciting for us. Glyndebourne’s inspired and world class creations deserve the broadest possible audience and I look forward to seeing more cinema screenings, a fresh approach to attracting family audiences and new commissions designed with young audiences at their heart.’

Glyndebourne Tour was founded in 1968 to give audiences across the UK the chance to see Glyndebourne operas and to give young artists more opportunity to develop their careers. In recent years both of these aims have also been furthered through Glyndebourne’s digital innovations – it was the first UK opera house to screen its work in cinemas in 2007 and the first to stream its opera for free online in 2011.  Over 42,000 people watched the two operas through their home PCs that year, the equivalent of a further 35 sold out performances at Glyndebourne.

David Pickard, General Director of Glyndebourne, said:

“Glyndebourne is passionate about sharing the quality and commitment we dedicate to all that we do with as broad a range of audiences as possible. We’ve been offering cinema screenings as part of the Glyndebourne Festival for a number of years and believe they have great value in providing an accessible entry point for people with an interest in the art form. That’s also what the Tour is all about so it made absolute sense for us to bring the two together. Alongside the other changes we hope that the new-look Tour will help us to reach people who may not previously have seen our work.”

Glyndebourne has embraced innovation and new technology from its earliest years. In 1936 the BBC made their first live radio broadcast from Glyndebourne and in 1951, they returned to film Così fan tutte which was to be the first complete opera to be shown live on British television. Digital developments continue to allow Glyndebourne to innovate and in 2012 Glyndebourne Tour will bring opera via stage, cinema and dedicated websites providing essential, behind the scenes documentaries, artist blogs and educational resources free for anyone to access.


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