The 2020 Glyndebourne Festival has been cancelled in its entirety due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Sussex-based opera house and company has revealed.

Having previously cancelled all performances up to 28 May, festival organisers were hoping to open on 14 July. However, they said in a statement that “the persistence of the Covid-19 global pandemic has made it impossible for us to guarantee the safety of company members and audiences”.

The festival receives no public subsidy, relying entirely on ticket sales in order to keep operating. With this source of income now blocked, Glyndebourne’s future is at risk, along with the livelihoods of all the artists and seasonal staff. As such, the charitable organisation has set up the Glyndebourne Emergency Covid-19 Appeal, asking for donations from the public.

Gus Christie, Glyndebourne’s executive chairman, commented: “The festival began more than 85 years ago, brought to life through the resolve and imagination of my grandparents John and Audrey. While there have been challenges since then, none since World War II has been so sudden and devastating as this one. We are absolutely determined to survive this.”

The company has also announced that it will be running its first-ever ‘virtual festival’. Glyndebourne Open House will open on Sunday 24 May with Michael Grandage’s much-loved production of The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart, 1786). The full-length opera will be streamed for free on Glyndebourne’s YouTube channel at 5pm.

To help audiences to recreate the festival experience in their own homes, festival caterers Restaurant Associates will be holding a live Glyndebourne Open House picnic cookery demo on Saturday 23 May via the YouTube channel. Festival organisers are also encouraging viewers to dress up for the full effect.

Stephen Langridge, Glyndebourne’s artistic director, said: “We remain determined to share world-class opera with the public this summer; so, while the pandemic has forced us to abandon our beautiful theatre for now, I am delighted to be able to announce Glyndebourne Open House, beaming great music and theatre direct to people’s homes.”

Glyndebourne’s acclaimed production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1787), directed by Jonathan Kent, will be shown on 31 May. Nicholas Hytner’s version of Così fan tutte (Women Are Like That, Mozart, 1790) will be streamed the following Sunday.

Music Director Robin Ticciati added: “While it is heart-breaking not being able to perform live for our audiences this summer, I have such hope for what we will all feel as a community when we emerge from this troubled time. The need for live music and opera will surely burn ever brighter.”



The 2020 Glyndebourne Festival has been cancelled in its entirety (Gus Christie).