Incomparable Glyndebourne!

Our first tour for Academy Travel ended today as we returned on a coach to London after two performances at incomparable Glyndebourne. We saw two operas: a sensitive production and performance of Eugene Onegin in the acoustically perfect newish theatre, and a controversial Rosenkavalier of Richard Strauss, directed by Richard Jones, set in the 1930s and designed in deliberately vulgar art deco style. In many ways it was deliberately over-the-top and very funny. But it was a travesty of the opera and roundly disapproved by both the critics and the public.

Aldeburgh Festival – Europe’s most interesting music Festival?

Previously to Glyndebourne we spent several days at the superb Aldeburgh Festival, one of the great music festivals in the world, of course created by and celebrating the music of Benjamin Britten, though these days the program is much more eclectic. We have:

  • Walked through the marshes led by old friend Andrew Neill
  • Staying in a comfortable but old fashioned waterfront hotel overlooking the endless shingle beach
  • Marvellous recital in the superb Maltings concert hall with Ian Bostridge singing Schubert’s Winterreise with Thomas Ades
  • Also at the Maltings, a semi-staged production of Brittens’ TV opera Owen Wingrave, based on the strange rather unconvincing ghost tale by Henry James
  • Inspected the fascinating collection of Britten memorabilia at the Red House museum

Highlights of London and Stratford upon Avon

At Stratford on Avon we saw two fabulous plays: Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 2 and the anonymous Elizabethan thriller Arden of Faversham

At the magnificent private estate at Wormsley where the Garsington Opera now takes place in a splendid glass walled demountable opera theatre, we saw a terrific production of Fidelio, with a great coup de theatre of having the prisoners let out into the real garden where the audience could see them wandering around in amazement

In London we saw a new production of Berlioz’ early opera Benvenuto Cellini, a complex and riveting production by English National Opera directed by Terry Gilliam of Goon Show fame