Where do we go: Glyndebourne, or Glastonbury?

Where do we go: Glyndebourne, or Glastonbury?


norman lebrecht

June 27, 2022

The English opera and rock music festivals have more in common than meets the ear.

Both are high priced and hard to access.

Neither has enough loos or bins.

You can get suddenly soaked at either of them.

The food is dismal.

And the benefits to your social life are wildly overrated.


Something changed this year.

There were so many white and bald heads bobbing along to Elbow in the fields at Glasto that it looked like the Glyndebourne crowd had switched allegiance.

And that same was happening on stage where performers of advanced years – McCartney, Springsteen, Diana Ross – were the main attraction while younger acts struggled to get a look in.

If Glasto has bagged the oldies, where does that leave Glyndebourne?




  • sonicsinfonia says:

    Hardly fair on Glyndebourne facilities. Missing the year ENO took The Valkyrie to Glasto – young audience packing the space to see Wagner.

  • MJA says:

    Not remotely fair on Glyndebourne, and it suggests the author is trading off old clichés and myths and hasn’t actually been that often recently.

    Glyndebourne is markedly cheaper than Glastonbury and less (or at least no more) expensive than other opera venues – and compares very well with other festivals.

    It is not “hard to access” – just go on the website and buy one of the available tickets.

    Speaking of access I have never had a problem finding a “loo” when I needed one.

    I suppose you can get “suddenly soaked” if you’re not paying attention but there is plenty of shelter available.

    NL must have very high standards indeed if he can’t find food that isn’t “dismal” in one of the three excellent restaurants on offer. But in that case, why not take advantage of one of the most notable features of the event and take a picnic? You have only one person to blame if that’s dismal.

    As for the “benefits to your social life”, that speaks volumes about the author’s preoccupations: who cares? It’s certainly not why I go and I’d never even thought about it.

    And regarding the old canard about the age of the audience and where that leaves Glyndebourne, I’d say doing alright, thank you, judging by the apparently relatively young median age of those I saw on Saturday at a hugely successful ‘Figaro’.

    Salzburg a few days ago, and now Glyndebourne. You’d think someone who makes his living out of music would be a little less relentlessly ill-disposed and negative towards some of its leading institutions. Baffling, really.