Glyndebourne will go ahead this summer

Statement from the festival:

Glyndebourne committed to staging its 2021 festival, with adaptations to accommodate ongoing restrictions

Glyndebourne has confirmed its plans to proceed with its annual opera festival in 2021, with adaptations to ensure the show can go on, even if social distancing is still in place.

Glyndebourne Festival 2021 will run from 20 May until 29 August with new productions of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová, Rossini’s Il turco in Italia and Verdi’s Luisa Miller, alongside a revival of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. In a change to original plans, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde will be presented as a semi-staged concert with a full orchestra, seated on the stage, to do justice to the opera’s epic score.

Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘We have been planning for a variety of scenarios to ensure we could adapt the Festival, in any way necessary, without lowering our artistic ambition. The plan we’re announcing draws on our experience of staging socially-distanced events in 2020 and gives us flexibility to accommodate any restrictions that might be in place this summer. I’m delighted to be going ahead with all three new productions, plans for which look astounding. After these months of enforced isolation, we are looking forward to being together again in Glyndebourne’s beautiful auditorium to share some extraordinary, inspiring evenings of live music and theatre. It promises to be a Festival like no other.’

Glyndebourne is carefully managing performer numbers and has adapted its working practices to ensure that performing companies will maintain physical distancing on stage, in the pit and in rehearsals.

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  • I am genuinely puzzled as to how this will work out—what will the capacity of the theatre be, for example? 30% 25%? And how will the orchestra be seated, in a social distancing way that is 6ft. apart? Will all patrons have to be tested or show evidence of a recent test? I wish them well, naturally, but the UK is still in a parlous state regarding group meetings and live theatrical productions with an audience present and these plans may be a touch too ambitious.

    • Hurrah for ambition! Last year, the UK arts scene was very slow to get going compared with continental Europe. The boot is on the other foot now.

    • Yes, this is ambitious but perhaps it indicates that the future of opera in the UK is with the non-subsidised companies. None of the big five ACE-supported companies are publicising any live performances at the moment, despite their recent cash loans from the government. As we know, opera doesn’t pay – “isn’t viable” in Sunak’s words – and is very low on the list of priorities for support post-COVID. There are greater priorities for the Treasury. Yes, the UK arts generate £5bn pa but Premier League football produces £28bn in revenue. Go figure. Opera will have to depend on the Glyndebourne/Garsington/Grange Park etc models if it is to survive. It’s time to think differently, across the board.Can we?

  • 20 May seems absurdly optimistic unless they are expecting to perform to minuscule audiences.

    Boris won’t even lay out his roadmap until next week. He’s already said it’ll be cautious, and if HE, the eternal optimist, says it’ll be cautious then, combined with various ministers backtracking on their summer holiday announcements, I think we can assume it will be.

    It seems to me a better idea would be for these summer companies to plan for late summer seasons, which would allow for most of the adult population to complete their vaccinations, and wouldn’t result in them having to cancel/postpone ad infinitum.

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