Britten’s festival faces first wipeout

Britten’s festival faces first wipeout


norman lebrecht

March 30, 2020

The Aldeburgh Festival was called off today. It would have been the 73rd festival and this is the first time it will not go ahead.
Aldeburgh Festival is one of the world’s most significant classical events. The festival was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and the librettist/producer Eric Crozier.

Chief Executive Roger Wright said: ‘It is with enormous sadness that we have to cancel the 2020 Aldeburgh Festival. Given the current
unprecedented circumstances, this will not be a surprise but, nonetheless, we know how disappointing it is for our audiences, friends and supporters and for the entire creative community which would have been involved in presenting the events we had planned in June.

‘We have waited to take this decision in the hope that we may have been able to present some of our events, given the variety of activity that the festival offers. But as recent days have made clear that hope was above reality and I recognise that everyone needs clarity in order to be able to plan, even though it is a message that we would never have wanted to deliver. We will endeavour to present at least some of the planned activity at future dates, not least the music we were expecting to premiere.’



  • Robert Roy says:

    I wonder how long it’ll be until a decision about the Edinburgh Festival is arrived at.

    • Robert Roy says:

      Sorry, should have started by saying that the cancellation of the Aldeburgh Festival is very sad.

    • SVM says:

      Edinburgh is largely in August; Aldeburgh is largely in June. So, there is still a possibility that Edinburgh may just survive…

      • Dalledu Alletre says:

        And at the moment the Salzburg Whitsun Festival — with Cecilia Bartoli’s sure-to-be hilarious Norina — is still on. The audience will be required by Austrian law to breathe through face-masks.

  • John Holmes says:

    ==first time it will not go ahead.

    Even in 1969, when there was a fire on the very first night of the festival only one performance had to be cancelled as everything else was relocated very quickly.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    I can’t see the Proms going ahead – that’ll be another first, surely?

    • Saxon Broken says:

      The Proms already have the hall and the BBC orchestras are already contracted to the BBC. They can run the Proms with only a few days notice. They can still invite the London orchestras but may well drop all the international acts. This means they don’t need to cancel unless we are still under lockdown in July (the lockdown in London will not last that long).