Sussex-based opera house Glyndebourne is celebrating an exceptional summer season, having far exceeded its attendance expectations for this year’s festival. The opera house has reported that 97% of seats were filled for the Glyndebourne Festival 2023.

Among the world-class opera drawing these huge audience numbers to the festival was a new production of Poulenc’s devastatingly powerful opera Dialogues des Carmélites (Dialogues of the Carmelites, 1957) by visionary Australian theatre and opera director Barrie Kosky. This was Glyndebourne’s first-ever staging of the opera.

The festival also comprised two further new productions: director Mariame Clément’s version of Don Giovanni (Mozart, 1787) and its first staging of Handel’s dramatic oratorio Semele (1744), directed by acclaimed Welsh director Adele Thomas, in her festival debut.

The opera house reported some impressive statistics from the festival, with more than 90,000 tickets sold. More than 3,000 of these were purchased through the opera house’s Under 30s and Under 40s schemes, aimed at making opera more accessible to younger audiences.

Some 2,500 people made their first Glyndebourne Festival ticket purchase in 2023, and it was quite the worldly affair, with 6,500 tickets sold to international visitors from 52 different countries. This represents an 18% increase on 2022, indicating the welcome return of overseas audiences following the pandemic.

Glyndebourne’s managing director Richard Davidson-Houston commented: “Audiences flocked back to Glyndebourne this summer to support the artform they love.

“We have sold more tickets for the festival this year than we did in 2019, exceeding our expectations as to how quickly audiences might recover following the pandemic. We even added extra performances to the schedule for the first time ever to meet demand. The additional sales this year are a welcome boost as we continue to rebuild our finances.”

Looking forward to next year, in 2024 the opera house will celebrate its 90th anniversary. The 2024 festival line-up comprises a very special mix of new productions and revivals. Next year’s festival runs from 16 May-25 August 2024; more details are to come.

Commenting on the 2024 festival, Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, said: “Since 1934, Glyndebourne has built its success on a commitment to the highest artistic standards. By offering long and detailed rehearsal periods our artists can undertake highly focused ensemble work to create truly exceptional opera.

“Our unique working environment is a huge draw and, coupled with our keen eye for talent, has seen Glyndebourne play a key role in launching the careers of leading artists including Janet Baker, Thomas Allen, Felicity Lott, Jakub Hrůša, Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati, Gerald Finley and Allan Clayton. Ninety years on, we continue to be guided by the same principles, as can be seen in our plans for next summer’s anniversary season.”

Before all that, though, Glyndebourne’s autumn season continues, with a revival of Annabel Arden’s production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love, 1832) and Mariame Clément’s Don Giovanni transferring from the 2023 festival.

These will be followed by concert performances of Haydn’s The Creation and Handel’s Messiah before a series of Christmas concerts in December.

Alongside these main-stage performances, the opera house will be taking opera into the community with hundreds of school children taking part in singing workshops in schools, music recitals in local care homes, family-friendly open days and a chance for audiences to sing with the Glyndebourne Chorus in a participatory Messiah masterclass.

Tickets for all productions are available from Glyndebourne.



British soprano Sally Matthews as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at Glyndebourne Festival 2023. The festival far exceeded all expectations for attendance, with 97% of seats filled (Richard Hubert Smith).