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The C&TH Guide to The Glyndebourne Festival 2018

Culture /

The C&TH Guide to The Glyndebourne Festival 2018

An old tradition for those who know it and a new tradition for first timers.


The hills are alive with the sound of music! The Glyndebourne Festival delivers on all fronts with world-class opera and its setting in the rolling hills of the South Downs.


And best of all, Glyndebourne’s unique 90 minute interval allows you to make the most of both with picnicking, dining in one of Glyndebourne’s restaurants or exploring the gardens with a glass of bubbly.

The C&TH Guide to The Glyndebourne Festival 2018


The audience at Glyndebourne, 1934 credit Glyndebourne Archive

What’s On

Madama Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini (19 May-18 July)
This opera about an innocent Geisha’s life changing meeting with an American naval officer makes its Festival debut in a production by Annilese Miskimmon.

Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss (20 May-26 June)
Moving through history in a sequence of striking sets, Richard Jones’ colourful production returns with a new cast to tell one of opera’s great romantic comedies.

Giulio Cesare, George Frideric Handel (10 June – 28 July)
A Glyndebourne classic, David McVicar’s much-loved production is an expertly choreographed response to one  of Handel’s finest scores.

NB: The three shows above are sold out and tickets are available by returns only. Madama Butterfly will be shown live in cinemas and online on Thursday 21 June, bookable at Glyndebourne.

Pelléas et Mélisande, Claude Debussy (30 June – 9 August)
Stefan Herheim makes his company directorial debut with Glyndebourne’s first new production of Pelléas in nearly 20 years. Tickets bookable at tickets.glyndebourne.

Saul, George Frideric Handel (19 July- 25 August)
Spectacle and psychology go hand in hand in this telling of David and Goliath’s aftermath. Saul’s story is one of a Lear-like demise; Handel’s musical portrait of this mental collapse has a rare complexity. Tickets bookable at tickets.glyndebourne

Vanessa, Samuel Barber (5-26 August)
A rare opportunity to see Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work – opera from the age of Hitchcock, with an atmospheric score, tense and psychological twists. Tickets bookable at tickets.glyndebourne

A line-up of the concerts and events that also fill out the festival season is available at Glyndebourne.

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Glyndebourne 1

What to Wear

The tradition of an evening dress code during the Glyndebourne Festival originated with founder John Christie, who felt that it was one of the ways the audience could show its respect for the performers.

Formal evening dress is customary for the summer Festival. Given the perils of the British weather, it is advisable to bring an additional, warm layer: cardigans, wraps and jackets are a good idea!

Changing facilities, if required, are provided in the Plashett building at the foot of the car park as indicated on the Glyndebourne site map.


What to Eat

The extensive gardens of Glyndebourne are prime picnicking real estate and you can choose where you would like your picnic set up for you from a map. Guests can hire tables, porter set-up, picnic and picnic waiters if choosing one of Glynderboure’s catered picnics. If bringing their own, guests can book a table or chair, but are also welcome to just bring a blanket! For restaurant meals, choose from fine dining, rustic and wholesome dining, buffet-style or afternoon tea options. A champagne bar, deli and traditional bar are also on site.

Where to Stay

The Lamb Inn Review
The Lamb Inn

It sounds a bit fictional, The Lamb Inn at Wartling, like something from a TV comedy, which is fitting, since the owner is on telly himself, and full of humour too. On Antiques Road Trip, James Braxton nips round the country in an open-top car, searching for bargains, but this pretty corner of Sussex, overlooking Pevensey Levels, is home. When the village pub came up for sale, he and his wife bought and decorated it beautifully (plenty of antiques), including the five simple, charming and inexpensive bedrooms upstairs. It’s run by their sons, Charlie, 26, and Ned, 23, who cheerfully preside over a place full of warmth and atmosphere, with good food courtesy of an equally young kitchen team. Charlie’s collection of vinyl records gets aired on a turntable in an alcove; milk churns double for stools along the bar; there are cosy and elegant eating areas, including a courtyard. A great spot, full of fun. Doubles from £95. Under 30 minutes from Glyndebourne. 

For information on How to Get There, Glyndebourne Seating Plan, and the Glyndebourne Tour.

Glyndebourne Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU

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