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Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Glyndebourne, since 1934, has been a quintessential part of the English season, with its distinctive mixture of top-class opera and extended al fresco repasts between acts. With six operas each year, from Mozart to modern, there's something for everyone.

As usual in 2012 three new productions join three revivals, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO, resident since 1964) accompanying four productions and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE, whose first appearance was in 1988 and is now into its second decade as co-resident) performing for the baroque and classical operas on the bill.

Long a favourite of Glyndebourne audiences, Janácek returns with Melly Still's new production of The Cunning Little Vixen (20 May-28 June: 13 performances), with music director Vladimir Jurowski conducting role debuts from British sopranos Lucy Crowe (in the title role), Emma Bell (as the fox) and with Sergei Leiferkus as the Gamekeeper.

This year's Mozart offering is Michael Grandage's new production of Le nozze di Figaro (27 June-22 August: 16 performances), with the OAE conducted by music director designate Robin Ticciati (he takes over in 2014). Grandage returns having directed Billy Budd in 2010, and his cast includes Isabel Leonard as Cherubino and Sally Matthews in her role debut as the Countess.

The final new production is Laurent Pelly's doube bill of Ravel's brilliantly witty L'Heure Espagnole and L'Enfant de les sortilèges, conducted by Kazushi Ono (4-25 August: ten performances). Mezzo Stéphanie d'Oustrac is Concepción in the first opera and soprano Khatouna Gadelia is L'Enfant in the second.

The rivals start with Sir Peter Hall's production of Rossini's Cenerentola, conducted by James Gaffigan, with American mezzo Elizabeth DeShong as Angelina and Chinese baritone Shenyang making his Glyndebourne debut as Alidoro (23 May-10 July: 13 performances). Next is David McVicar's production of Puccini's La bohème, notable for its cast of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winners: Russian soprano Ekatarino Scherbachenko (winner 2009) as Mimì and 2011 song-prize-winner Andrei Bondarenko as Marcello. Kirill Krabbits conducts (6 June-13 July: 14 performances). Finally, with the OAE conducted by Laurence Cummings, Jonathan Kent's hoot of a production of Purcell's The Fairy Queen returns (complete with man size pink rabbits) with soprano Caroyln Samson and Dutch tenor Peter Gijsbertsen (20 July-26 August: 11 performances).

Glyndebourne's audiences traditionally dress formally: dress suits and evening dress are still the norm, although lounge suits are perhaps more prevalent in the new house.

The stunning interior of Glyndebourne's Opera House

Glyndebourne Festival Opera Information


When: May - Aug 2013 (annual)

Where: Lewes

Cost: £10 (standing)-£230; public booking from 24 Mar (online from 12pm; phone from 10am)

Opening Hours: Various; operas played in repertoire & start times differ for each opera;
Sun at least an hour earlier

Address: Lewes, BN8 5UU

Hotels near Glyndebourne Festival Opera


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