Theatre News

Glyndebourne announces its 2016 season

Mozart, Wagner and Britten headline next year’s season on the Sussex Downs

David McVicar's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Glyndebourne)
David McVicar's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Glyndebourne)
© Alastair Muir

There’ll be plenty of Shakespeare around next year to mark the 400th anniversary of his death. The 2016 Glyndebourne Festival will be no exception, with two of its six operas derived from his works.

The libretto for Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream uses the original text as a libretto, albeit slightly restructured and, this being an opera, heavily pruned. Glyndebourne is rightly proud of its ravishing Peter Hall production from 1981, now the stuff of legend, a revival of which will close the festival. Tim Mead will sing Oberon, with Matthew Rose as Bottom.

Berlioz, famously, was mad about the Bard and he was inspired by several of his works – Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear – although Béatrice et Bénédict (based on Much Ado About Nothing) was his only operatic treatment. Glyndebourne favourite Stéphanie d’Oustrac and American tenor Paul Appleby (soon to open in Saul) will sing the title roles in a new production by French director Laurent Pelly. Music director Robin Ticciati will conduct, as he will the season’s big revival…

Michael Grandage's 2012 production of Le nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne)
Michael Grandage's 2012 production of Le nozze di Figaro (Glyndebourne)
© Alastair Muir

…namely the long-rumoured return of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in David McVicar‘s acclaimed production. That is now confirmed as the season opener on 21 May. Gerald Finley (currently singing William Tell at the ROH) will return as Hans Sachs and he’ll be joined by Canadian-German tenor Michael Schade as Walther.

Two of French playwright Beaumarchais’s three 'Figaro' tales were immortalised in opera, and they both feature at Glyndebourne 2016. Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (set to star Danielle de Niese as Rosina) is based on the first of the trilogy and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro on the third. They’ll be directed by Annabel Arden and Michael Grandage respectively, the latter a revival of his 2012 production and, incidentally, the only production of the season not to feature the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit (the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will be on Mozart duty). Former WhatsOnStage Opera Poll nominee Rosa Feola, so memorable as Sandrina in La finta giardiniera for the 2013 Glyndebourne Tour, will sing Susanna.

Rounding off the main festival is a revival of Melly Still‘s colourful, trompe-l’oeil production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen conducted by the composer’s fellow-Czech Jakub Hrůša.

Melly Still's production of The Cunning Little Vixen (Glyndebourne)
Bunny rabbits (and Vixen Sharp-Ears) in Melly Still's production of The Cunning Little Vixen (Glyndebourne)
© Bill Cooper

Before any of that, however, Glyndebourne will mark 30 years of its education programme with a main stage youth opera in February: a new commission based on the novel Nothing by Danish author Janne Teller and composed by David Bruce.

Looking ahead to autumn 2016, the Glyndebourne Tour will comprise the company’s first ever production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly , directed by Opera Holland Park favourite Annilese Miskimmon, together with a revival of Jonathan Kent‘s lowering Don Giovanni . The third live performance will, we're told, "introduce new audiences to opera […] through a deconstruction of Don Giovanni".