This month I was elevated in status from associate to full membership of Glyndebourne.
Initially my reaction was ‘What ‘s the big deal? ‘ – apart from an increased sub?
However with the letter they sent me a Short History of History of Glyndebourne by Michael Kennedy.
Reading the story made me think that full membership is a Good Thing!
Glyndebourne has been run by three generations of the Christie family.
John was the founding father – his son George refurbished the Opera House and is the architect of modern Glyndebourne – and now his son Gus, married to soprano Danielle de Nuese, is taking the project on and forward.
The other admirable element of Glyndebourne is that they do not produce the begging bowl and are totally financially self-reliant.
They have courted munificent benefactors like the John Lewis family and a range of sponsorships. It is also expensive: you will not get much change of a grand for your trip for two there.
Gus Christie has several challenges.
There are now competitors in the field of country house opera: Garsington and The Grange to name but two.
It attracts an elderly audience and the attempts to draw in a younger one have not always been successful.
In a recent production of The Magic Flute it went woke, with the female cast wearing suffragette sashes.
There is much tinkering with dress.
Once Glynebourne attracted opera singers of the quality of Kathleen Ferrier and Joan Sutherland, but no longer.
Peter Hall and David Hockney were once associated with productions but, although the ensemble of orchestration and production is still impressive, the names no longer appear.
Still – the achievements and institution were sufficient worthy of my support to stump up the increased sub.