Following its cancellation in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Glyndebourne Tour will return in autumn 2021 with performances at Glyndebourne and then in Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Norwich and Liverpool, the Sussex-based opera house has announced.
The tour, which runs from 8 October-12 December, opens with a new production of Fidelio (1805), Beethoven’s only opera. This new staging was originally scheduled to premiere at the 2020 Glyndebourne Festival which was also cancelled due to coronavirus. It tells how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named Fidelio, rescues her husband Florestan from death in a political prison.
It features German soprano Dorothea Herbert as Leonore – or the eponymous Fidelio – and British tenor Adam Smith as Florestan. It is directed by theatre producer and director Frederic Wake-Walker and conducted by Ben Glassberg, the principal conductor of the tour.
The programme also comprises a revival of Mariame Clément’s popular 2011 staging of Donizetti’s romantic comedy Don Pasquale (1843) and John Cox’s iconic 1975 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (1951), returning to Glyndebourne for the first time in more than a decade.
In the former, miserly old bachelor Don Pasquale is fed up with his nephew Ernesto, and vows to get married and produce an heir, so he can cut the feckless young man out of his will. But when Ernesto and his beloved Norina get wind of the plan, they come up with their own scheme to outwit the grumpy old man. The cast includes Italian-Ethiopian soprano Mariam Battistelli as Norina and bass-baritone Ricardo Seguel in the title role; Jonathan Bloxham conducts the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra.
The Rake’s Progress features graphic designs by artist David Hockney and is conducted by Kerem Hasan. British soprano Nardus Williams sings the role of Anne Trulove, abandoned by Tom Rakewell – sung by New Zealand tenor Frederick Jones – for the delights of London in the company of Nick Shadow – London-born bass-baritone Sam Carl – who turns out to be the devil. British bass Matthew Best plays Anne’s father.
Following a series of performances at Glyndebourne, taking place from 8-31 October, the tour then goes on the road. It will visit The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (3-5 November), Milton Keynes Theatre (10-12 November), Norwich Theatre Royal (24-26 November) and Liverpool Empire Theatre (1-3 December).
In addition to the operas, tour audiences can also watch Glyndebourne’s first-ever staging of Handel’s Messiah (1742). This English-language choral work will also be performed at Glyndebourne in a one-off showing on 12 December. Also taking place at the Sussex-based opera house is a series of Christmas concerts featuring a festive selection of operatic highlights and yuletide classics performed by the Glyndebourne Chorus and Tour Orchestra for all the family (8-12 December).
Another part of the season is a special screening of Charlie Chaplin’s classic film City Lights, taking place at Glyndebourne only. In a first for the opera house, this is a rare chance to watch a cinematic masterpiece in the auditorium with live musical accompaniment from the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra.
The Glyndebourne Tour has a long record of discovering and developing new artistic talent. The Pit Perfect scheme for orchestral players of exceptional promise aims to nurture young musicians. It provides the opportunity for 13 postgraduate instrumentalists to gain professional experience as part of the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra, as well as mentoring from established peers.
This year’s Pit Perfect participants include young Japanese cellist Tamaki Sugimoto, a recipient of various international prizes. She is currently studying at the Royal College of Music while forging her performance career.
“Glyndebourne’s Pit Perfect scheme will give me valuable insight into the operatic scene, both in and out of the pit,” she commented. “I am excited and truly grateful to be exposed to such great repertoire and welcomed by its wonderful team. It is a difficult time to be finishing studies, but this opportunity will help make a bridge towards my future career. The Glyndebourne Tour fills me with optimism and I look forward to sharing that enthusiasm with everyone in the productions and the audience.”
Tickets for the tour are on sale now. For further details, including dates and prices, visit Glyndebourne’s website.
A revival of John Cox’s iconic 1975 production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress is included in this year’s Glyndebourne Tour. This 2010 version starred Miah Persson as Anne Trulove and Topi Lehtipuu as Tom Rakewell (Alastair Muir).