Glyndebourne Opera House

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New Road, Lewes, United Kingdom
01273 812321

Glyndebourne Opera House Lewes Reviews

summerrocks summerro…
2 reviews
Jan 20, 2006
I thought I'd share a not so distant memory of an Opera.

Handel's Giulio Cesare directed by David Mcvicar at the very, very cool, Glyndebourne Opera House in East Sussex. Wow! What a fabulous place this is, the Opera House itself is set amongst the most gorgeous English countryside setting, in fact unless you knew it existed, you wouldn't even know it was there.

Anyways, this was my first taste of Opera and I must confess I was a little unsure of what to expect, especially being a bit of an inverted snob and all. My prior perception of this stuff was very much one of Opera being a thing for the coiffured arty set, and whilst by and large it probably still is, in my opinion, it is also definitely something that more people in general would do well to make the effort to go to and sample. There are some very talented people who do this stuff, and believe me, if you haven't yet seen it, get out there and go, if only for the reason that you are missing a treat and a half.

Having been armed with a few concepts regarding form, repetition, structure, history and other operatic conventions I settled down in my seat and prepared myself for my little journey into the unknown, and boy, what a pleasant journey it was. The opera house itself is fairly 'intimate' 1200 seats, very modern and comfortable. My seat was a little restricted so I didn't get to see some of the stage depth and props, but this was only a minor let down and was more than compensated by the fact that we got to see things that people in the stalls would otherwise have missed. I'd never truly appreciated the power and talent of an operatic voice in full flow and wow did these performers have the most amazing voices, and I mean amazing! When you consider that these guys have to project their voices to over 1200 people, without microphones and above a full blown band of instruments, whilst leaping around and jumping off of tables and dancing and whatnot, then you really do begin to see and appreciate what a talent these guys have. Cesare (Sarah Connolly) , Achilla (Christopher Maltman) and Cleopatra (Danielle de Niese) were for me, simply outstanding, although the other performers were also very very good too, coupled with some fantastic costumery and an amazing Baroque band (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment), conducted by William Christie it really was a delight. The fact that the performance was punctuated by a short interval followed by a longer one, added to the overall experience.We had a table outside on one of the upper circle balconies that overlooked a truly excellent sun kissed landscape, peppered with lambs, trees and rolling hills where we sat and drank chilled Chardonnay and munched on various tasty offerings from Marks and Spencers, this, abley assisted by some excellent company, was very pleasant too. :)

It was definitely a day to remember and I'm more than sure that I'll definitely be going to see a few more Opera's. Its so true that television really doesn't do this kind of stuff justice, its one of those things that you've just got to witness in person to really get a proper appreciation for.

So, there you have it, all in all a great weekend. :-)

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summerrocks says:
A quick google for Glyndebourne pics gives a few insights on the setting and whatnot. I was very lucky, as the person I went with is a renowned operatic performer so she kind of gave me an intensive education on what meant what! Without her, I don't think I would have had a clue behind the reasoning for things like repetition of verse, females in male roles and that kinda thing.

The Glyndebourne festival(im told) is a big social event for the British upper classes, there were some people there (and I kid you not) who had brought their servants to serve them tea on the lawns, which I found a little funny too.Nevertheless, it was an interesting insight into a world I seldom otherwise venture.
Posted on: Jan 21, 2006
Eric says:
The outdoor venue sounds really spectacular. I saw an opera in Rome, but think I had a bad experience...
Posted on: Jan 20, 2006
dlazzaro says:
Interesting review.. and great directions!
Posted on: Jan 20, 2006
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