Soprano Danielle de Niese, and tenors Nicky Spence and Allan Clayton head the starry cast just announced for the Sussex house's mini-festival.
Artistic director Stephen Langridge unveils a comic opera by Jacques Offenbach, in a new version by Stephen Plaice, and given a new title: In the Market for Love. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, among Glyndebourne's regular instrumentalists, give a concert of music from across the centuries in the first half of the programme. The comic opera follows after a 75-minute picnic interval.
With this year's Festival cancelled, performances will be in the extensive and beautifully planted gardens behind the house. The 12 soloists will work together at a safe distance, without a chorus. Props and costumes from earlier productions will get another airing. A jaunty romp set in a Parisian fruit and vegetable market, with romance, revelations and a refreshingly happy ending, it sounds like just the remedy we all need.
Danielle de Niese is resident at the house – she married owner Gus Christie in 2009 – and her appearance coincides with an important new initiative to support younger singers stricken by lack of work and opportunities during the pandemic.
The Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund aims to have £50,000 to distribute to singers who are struggling to make ends meet.
'This is such a difficult time for artists,' says de Niese. 'Most contracts include a “force majeure” clause which frees both parties from obligation during an “act of God” that is out of their control. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of those cases and artists’ income has disappeared overnight.
It's picnic time again at Glyndebourne, as live music returns in August. Photo: James Bellorini
'Freelance artists, just beginning to establish their careers, are often not eligible for government support schemes and they urgently need practical support to fund just their basic living expenses until performances can start again. There is a danger that this generation of talented young artists will struggle to make it into their profession.
'If you love opera you can really make a difference by donating, giving a financial lifeline to young emerging talent. At the moment it’s the best investment opera lovers can make in the future of our great art form because 100% of all money will go straight to pay living expenses, keeping artists afloat so they can continue their journey and bring joy to the stages of the arts world.'
Opera-lovers who have had tickets for other productions refunded, or who have enjoyed the many free streamings from Glyndebourne, may well feel that this a cause well worth supporting.
The audience at performances of Mesdames de la Halle, normally numbering 1,200 in the house, which opened in its new building in 1994, will be limited to 200 people. Tickets cost £100, with refunds should the weather cause a cancellation.
A performance for 200 people does not stray far from Glyndebourne's roots: it opened in the original house in 1934 with an audience of just 300 people.
Click here to create a log-on for Glyndebourne, for access to ticket sales and returns. Click here to support the Opera Awards Foundation Artist Hardship Fund
|What||Mesdames de la Halle, live at Glyndebourne|
|Where||Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Victoria (underground)|
12 Aug 20 – 28 Aug 20, 10 afternoon performances, times vary. Gardens open 2:30PM
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|