In the world of opera, Glyndebourne is unique. It is recognised globally as one of the great opera houses. Its productions travel worldwide, are performed live in other opera houses and screened in cinemas from New York to Tokyo.
Yet it remains a very English institution. The opera house stands next to the country home of John Christie, who founded it in 1934. Now run by his grandson Gus, it is still very much a family concern. Its Festival audiences arrive from far and wide and an extended interval gives them time for an evening meal. Many choose to picnic in the garden. Some sprawl on rugs, others bring tables, candlesticks and ice buckets. Almost all wear evening dress.
Such eccentricities are part of Glyndebourne's charm. But its global reputation stems from a passion for artistic excellence. Founder John Christie insisted on "doing not the best we can do but the best that can be done anywhere". For over 80 years, that has remained Glyndebourne's touchstone.
Glyndebourne's commitment to quality has earned it a loyal following, enabling it to preserve its financial independence through good times and bad. Its reputation enables it to attract the world's finest artists. Today, its Festival and Tour present over 120 performances each year, to some 150,000 people. It's an institution, but not a museum. Glyndebourne (and its audiences) are noted for their sense of adventure. Its programmes balance well-known repertoire with less familiar works, both old and new, including British premières and new commissions. In addition to established opera directors, Glyndebourne invites talented theatre directors to bring their creative vision to opera, often for the first time.
And Glyndebourne has always looked to the future, developing new talent, new works and new audiences. Artists whose careers started here include Kate Royal, Thomas Allen, Edward Gardner, Joan Sutherland, Janet Baker, John Tomlinson, Simon Rattle and John Pritchard.