Sally Matthews as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at Glyndebourne Festival 2023 (photographer Richard Hubert Smith)
21 August 2023
Glyndebourne reports a bumper season with 97% of seats filled at Glyndebourne Festival 2023 and reveals the lineup for its 90th anniversary season in 2024
Glyndebourne is celebrating an exceptional summer having far exceeded its attendance expectations by filling 97% of the seats at Glyndebourne Festival 2023. Among the world class opera drawing a bumper audience to the event was a critically-acclaimed new production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites by the visionary director Barrie Kosky, and five star revivals of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
Other notable figures include:
- Over 90,000 tickets sold for Glyndebourne Festival 2023
- Over 3,000 tickets purchased through Glyndebourne’s Under 30s and Under 40s schemes
- 6,500 tickets sold to international visitors from 52 different countries – an 18% increase on 2022 indicating the return of international audiences following the pandemic
- 2,500 people made their first Glyndebourne Festival ticket purchase in 2023
Richard Davidson-Houston, managing director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Audiences flocked back to Glyndebourne this summer to support the art form they love. We have sold more tickets for the Festival this year than we did in 2019, exceeding our expectations as to how quickly audiences might recover following the pandemic. We even added extra performances to the schedule for the first time ever to meet demand. The additional sales this year are a welcome boost as we continue to rebuild our finances.’
As the 2023 Festival draws to a close, Glyndebourne has today announced the programme for 2024, when the company marks its 90th anniversary year.
Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Since 1934, Glyndebourne has built its success on a commitment to the highest artistic standards. By offering long and detailed rehearsal periods our artists can undertake highly focused ensemble work to create truly exceptional opera. Our unique working environment is a huge draw and, coupled with our keen eye for talent, has seen Glyndebourne play a key role in launching the careers of leading artists including Janet Baker, Thomas Allen, Felicity Lott, Jakub Hrůša, Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati, Gerald Finley and Allan Clayton. Ninety years on, we continue to be guided by the same principles, as can be seen in our plans for next summer’s anniversary season.’
The 2024 Glyndebourne Festival will open with a deeply human new production of Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Diane Paulus, a giant of American theatre, making her UK opera directorial debut. Featuring choreography by Jasmin Vardimon, the opera will have 21 performances taking place across the summer – 11 at the start of the season (opening 16 May), and a further 10 in August.
The initial performance run will be conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati with German conductor Anja Bihlmaier taking over in August, making her Glyndebourne debut. Casting for the first performance run sees mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb in the role of Carmen and tenor Dmytro Popov as Don José. In August, those roles will be performed by Aigul Akhmetshina and Evan LeRoy Johnson.
The second new production of the season will be Franz Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow, a work that has never been fully staged at Glyndebourne before. Presented in a new English-language version by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy, it will be directed by the award-winning comedy director Cal McCrystal and conducted by John Wilson. Among the cast is Danielle de Niese as Hanna Glawari, Germán Olvera as Count Danilo, Thomas Allen as Baron Mirko Zeta and Soraya Mafi as Valencienne.
The 2024 season also features revivals of three popular Glyndebourne productions, including David McVicar’s groundbreaking staging of Handel’s most popular opera, Giulio Cesare. Premiered in 2005, the production was an immediate hit, winning praise for its witty fusion of imperial history, Bollywood and political psychodrama. Laurence Cummings will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a cast that includes countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen in the title role and soprano Louise Alder as Cleopatra.
Also returning to the Festival is Barbe & Doucet’s playful reimagining of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Premiered in 2019, the dazzling production features hand-drawn illustrations and elaborate puppetry that showcases the extraordinary levels of craftsmanship at Glyndebourne. The revival will be conducted by Constantin Trinks leading the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a cast that includes tenor Paul Appleby as Tamino, soprano Lauren Snouffer as Pamina, soprano Aleksandra Olczyk as Queen of the Night and baritone Rodion Pogossov as Papageno.
Completing the Festival lineup is a revival of Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s 2003 production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. In its first full theatrical staging at Glyndebourne since 2009, the opera will be conducted by Robin Ticciati and features some of the world’s leading Wagnerian singers, including tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Miina-Liisa Värelä in the title roles and bass baritone Shenyang as Kurwenal.
Away from the stage, visitors to the Festival can enjoy an exhibition of new work by leading British artist Conrad Shawcross RA. The works will be on view across Glyndebourne’s gardens and gallery spaces, featuring large-scale sculptures in a never before seen field array, small-scale sculptures and drawings that explore the connections between materiality, maths and music.
Glyndebourne Festival 2024 runs from 16 May – 25 August 2024. More details can be found at glyndebourne.com
Before all that, 2023 at Glyndebourne continues with an autumn season that includes revivals of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore along with concert performances of Haydn’s The Creation and Handel’s Messiah before a series of Christmas Concerts in December.
Glyndebourne’s autumn season offers exceptional opera at affordable prices and provides vital talent development opportunities for singers, conductors and musicians. Alongside main stage performances, Glyndebourne will be taking opera into the community with hundreds of school children taking part in singing workshops in schools, music recitals in local care homes, family-friendly open days and a chance for audiences to sing with the Glyndebourne Chorus in a participatory Messiah masterclass.