Glyndebourne confirms 2022 productions plus environmental pledge

Works by six female composers, comprising two new operas and a neglected masterpiece, will be staged at Glyndebourne in 2022.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:58 am
Glyndebourne © Glyndebourne Productions Ltd. Photo_ Sam Stephenson

Among them is an opera by the pioneering feminist composer Ethel Smyth that will open Glyndebourne Festival 2022.

The Wreckers, a powerful, cinematic psychodrama set on the Cornish coast, was the most successful of Smyth’s operas in her lifetime and is an influential work that many people know by name but few have actually seen. Glyndebourne’s production is the first production by a major opera house since 1939 and the first-ever staging of the original French-language version.

Stephen Langridge, artistic director of Glyndebourne, said: “Ethel Smyth was a serious and important composer, championed by the likes of Thomas Beecham and Bruno Walter. Our new staging of The Wreckers will, in one sense, be a world premiere because it’s the first time the opera will be performed in French as she originally conceived it. There’s been lots of sleuth-work involved in putting the original score and text back together again and we’re delighted to be giving this neglected masterpiece its first major staging in over eighty years."

“The production, directed by Melly Still and conducted by Glyndebourne’s music director Robin Ticciati, will also break new ground in leading the charge towards making opera in a sustainable way. All of the new productions at the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival will embrace the baseline principles set out in the Theatre Green Book initiative, led by the Theatres Trust and supported by Glyndebourne.”

Stephen added “This show will reinvent the way we think about productions at Glyndebourne. For all of the new productions at next year’s Festival, more materials will be recycled from our stores, with plans for the disposal or reuse of every component agreed in advance with our production teams. It is a major step towards making theatre in a truly sustainable, environmentally friendly way that will make a big difference as we work towards our long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral in our direct operations."

The Wreckers is one of four new productions at next year’s Glyndebourne Festival. Also planned is a new staging of opera’s greatest love story, La Bohème. Dutch director Floris Visser makes his Glyndebourne directorial debut working alongside rising star conductor Jordan de Souza.

Also new will be a double bill of operas by Poulenc – La Voix Humaine and Les Mamelles de Tirésias conducted by Robin Ticciati. Following his success with a Ravel Double Bill for Glyndebourne in 2012, French director Laurent Pelly takes on two more contrasting French masterpieces. Glyndebourne favourite Stéphanie d’Oustrac takes on the role of Elle in La Voix Humaine.

The final new production in the season is Francesco Micheli’s new staging of Handel’s Alcina, which was due to premiere at the 2020 Glyndebourne Festival before the season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jonathan Cohen conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Completing the line-up are revivals of Mariame Clément’s mischievous production of Don Pasquale conducted by Ben Glassberg and Michael Grandage’s swinging sixties-inspired Le Nozze di Figaro, for which conducting duties are shared between Giancarlo Andretta and Nicholas Carter.

Glyndebourne Festival 2022 runs from May 21–August 28.

2022 will be book-ended by two brand-new operas, both by female composers.

In February 2022 Glyndebourne will present the world premiere of Pay the Piper, a new youth opera jointly composed by the four participants of Balancing the Score, a development programme exclusively for female composers. Anna Appleby, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Cecilia Livingston and Ailie Robertson have collaborated with writer Hazel Gould to create a new work based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The opera will be directed by Sinéad O’ Neill, with the young American-British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck conducting the Psappha ensembles.

The production, delayed by the pandemic, will be the first Glyndebourne show to take place in the theatre’s stalls rather than on the stage. This was necessitated by essential work to replace and automate Glyndebourne’s 27-year-old backstage systems, but has been embraced for its creative opportunities.

Stephen added: “You’ll get a completely different view on the theatre, a completely new acoustic. It’s an experience that may not ever happen again, but an opportunity to play in that wonderful space and just see what happens.”

Following in the autumn of 2022 is a new work by composer Samantha Fernando and writer Melanie Wilson examining themes of loneliness that will include real-life testimonies drawn from a diverse range of communities.