Glyndebourne celebrations

As the summer opera festival reaches its 75th anniversary, Paul Riley reveals this season's unmissable productions


It opened as the perfect house for Mozart and, 75 years on, Glyndebourne remains a Mozartian theatre par excellence. Not that it hasn’t moved with the times. Its repertoire has spanned 500 years and witnessed seven commissions, 13 British premieres, and pioneering cinema relays. Busy remembering other anniversaries of 2009 – David McVicar’s 2005 production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare is revived and Purcell’s Fairy Queen weaves its magic for the first time under William Christie – Glyndebourne gives itself a special birthday present. The season opens with Verdi’s comic operatic swansong: Falstaff. Following his 2007 Macbeth, director Richard Jones is reunited with Verdian Shakespeare for a production conducted by Vladimir Jurowski and starring Christopher Purves as the irascible knight. With Dvorák’s Rusalka joining The Fairy Queen as ‘debutantes’, and Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s much-praised Tristan und Isolde revived, Glyndebourne 2009 is assured of ‘many happy returns’ in more senses than one.


For the 10 must-hear events of May, take a look at the current issue of BBC Music Magazine