Glyndebourne 2015 hopes to bring highbrow opera to the masses
Opera festival’s organisers say Donizetti’s Poliuto, written in 1838,
will be staged at the annual performances, which have doubled their
audiences this year
Opera lovers take a picnic on the lawns of Glyndebourne as they listen
to the music Photo: Leigh Simpson
By Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent
7:15AM BST 25 Aug 2014
An opera written 176 years ago about the persecution of Christians is
to be staged for the first time in Britain as Glyndebourne Festival
brings highbrow music to its widening audience.
The festival’s organisers said Donizetti’s Poliuto, written in 1838,
would be staged next year at the annual performances, which have
doubled their audiences this year.
The schedule, announced on Sunday, will feature a range of
intellectually-demanding operas. Organisers said the festival,
spanning 300 years of opera, would maintain their “high artistic
Those high ideals are attracting a wider audience, with the popular
performances being screened in cinemas and online.
The number of people watching the operas this year has doubled as the
98,000 ticket holders were matched by those viewing the productions on
screens, including the Telegraph website.
The director of the festival has now hailed the new young singers
helping them reach “broader audiences than ever before”. An opera
scheme dedicated to those younger than 30 was sold out.
David Pickard, the general director, said: “As a privately funded
festival, I am particularly proud that we are the only UK opera
company to offer our performances free online to be accessed by
audiences across the globe. Those streamings, together with the
success of our dedicated under 30s performance, were highlights of the
season for me.
“I hope that all those who saw Festival 2014 operas, whether on stage,
on screen or online went away with a new, or renewed, love of live
The festival will be led next year by Poliuto, Donizetti’s challenging
opera which has been regarded as notoriously difficult to cast.
Michael Fabiano, the American tenor, will take the title role after
making his Glyndebourne debut in last year’s La traviata.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph opera critic, wrote that Fabiano’s
“every note was perfectly placed”.
Ana MarÃa MartÃnez will take the role of Paolina in the opera, which
tells the story of Christians condemned to death for their faith in
third century Armenia.
Initially steeped in controversy, it was banned by King Ferdinand II
who refused to allow the martyrdom of a Christian saint to be
portrayed on stage in Naples.
It has since been performed in Paris and Italy.
The 2015 season will also see the festival’s first staging of Handel’s
Saul, with Christopher Purves in the title role and Iestyn Davies as
A third new production will see Mozart’s Die EntfÃ¼hrung aus dem Serail
brought to life for audiences, with Robin Ticciati, Glyndebourne’s
music director, conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,
which specialises in British period instruments.
The line-up will continue the festival’s tradition of coupling
highbrow new works with revivals of old favourites, such as Bizet’s
Carmen and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.
It will also see the lyric soprano Danielle De Niese, the wife of
Glyndebourne’s owner Gus Christie, return to the stage in Ravel’s
double bill, L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilÃ¨ges.
The 2015 season will run from May 21 to Aug 30.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress