The season for 2019 opens with one of two big firsts: La Damnation de Faust by Hector Berlioz (18 May - 10 July). The Faust story is given a particularly colourful spin by this master orchestrator. All eyes are ears will be on two great male voices – as Faust, Allan Clayton, a huge star in the title role of Brett Dean's new Hamlet in 2017, and, as Mephistopheles, bass baritone Christopher Purves.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, resident orchestra for most of the Glyndebourne season, here under Robin Ticciati, is joined by a massive seven-part chorus. This promises to be a momentous occasion.
Next up is a very welcome revival of Annabel Arden's vivacious production of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia (19 May to 14 July). This joyous romp with scintillating music features Andry Zhilikhovsky in the title role, as the barber surgeon who gets the better of his master and helps two young lovers to the altar, under the nose of the young woman's jealous guardian. The LPO is in the pit again.
Another rarity, Massenet's version of the Cinderella story, Cendrillon, gets its first airing on the Glyndebourne Tour in autumn 2018, and comes into the summer festival season with Daniela de Niese as the neglected sister and daughter condemned to a life of servitude until she catches the eye of the Prince.
Fiona Shaw brings a modern woman's eye to the fairytale of Cendrillon (8 June - 2 Aug), as director. John Wilson, a great Proms favourite, conducts the LPO.
A second great Glyndebourne favourite returns next: Dvorak's Rusalka (29 June to 21 Aug) directed by Melly Still. This beautiful production features Sally Matthews in the title role this time, as the mermaid who trades her captivating voice for life on land with the man she loves, with heartbreaking results.
Mozart and Glyndebourne are inextricably linked, and so a new production of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute, 18 July - 24 Aug) will be the centre of attention. The first new production for more than a decade by a great opera duo, the director and choreographer Renaud Doucet and set and costume André Barbe, promises to be spectacular. The cast includes Caroline Wettergreen as the formidable Queen of the Night.
Closing the season is the return of Handel's tuneful Rinaldo (8-25 Aug), a heroic adventure with an unusual setting devised by director Robert Carsen. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, who stole the show in Madama Butterfly at the start of the 2018 season, returns in the title role.
Talking points of 2019 are likely to be the Faust and Cendrillon, but world-class singing and impeccable production values all round are guaranteed. Tickets sell fast, but there are always seats available for those quick off the mark. Then all you have to do is choose your picnic menu...
General booking opens Sun 3 March. Operas are sung in their original language, with English surtitles. Watch Culture Whisper for news of cinema relays.
|What||Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2019|
|Where||Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Victoria (underground)|
18 May 19 – 25 Aug 19, six productions, times vary
|Website||Click here for more information|