Glyndbourne

What is Glyndbourne? It’s an opera house in the country near Lewes. It was set up for new and upcoming opera singers almost 100 years ago. There is a tradition of black tie and formal dress for attendence, which meant we had to bring formal clothes from home, mainly for this one event.

Thursday was a day spent mostly at home. Stephen’s phone wasn’t able to make or receive phone calls and a visit to Three.co was in order, plus some shopping. We picked up vouchers for our next top up of our pre paid SIM cards and they tested his phone with a different SIM and it worked fine. A suggestion was made to take it to Apple, but I did a hard reset of the phone and it then worked just fine. It was only phone calls that didn’t work, he still had internet access, which suggested to me that it wasn’t a hardware issue.

Friday, yesterday, was another bucket list item for Stephen, a visit to Glyndbourne to see/hear an opera. I insisted that it be an opera I would enjoy and we didn’t have much of a choice as it is fairly heavily booked. We were sitting up in the gods, back row, but had a very good view of most of the action (apart from the flying water nymphs) and the sound was excellent.

Access to the venue would be difficult, there are lots of trains running to Lewess from East Croydon, but the actual opera house is at least a couple of miles away. Fortunately it is well organised with shuttle buses (big ones) running to and from, before and after.

We felt a bit intimidated by not knowing the ropes at the venue, including precisely what sort of food was available and where we could sit during the intervals. Now that we know we feel that it could become something we would like to do when/if we come to England again. Although, it does involve coming in the English summer, which is our winter and good travelling weather in Australia.

Stephen had been watching the opera on Youtube and I tried, but didn’t find it engaging. Fortunately, once we were seeing it live with surtitles I found it thoroughly enjoyable. Dvorak’s Rusulka, a very silly story about a mermaid who falls in love with a human, has herself transformed into a human so she can marry him, and tragedy inevitably follows. Still, the singers/actors made it a very emotional experience.

We have watched a Glyndbourne version of The magic flute and I felt there was too much silly stuff happening on stage to really enjoy the music. There was some of this in Rusulka, but not nearly as bad.

The weather failed us, of course, this is England. It was wet, with light and persistent rain, with a strong wind when we arrived back in Croydon. Even so, Stephen and I enjoyed walking around the grounds, locating different eating places and admiring the gardens. We only had one umbrella at the time, but it wasn’t cold and walking in light rain was rather nice.

We had about a 50 minute train journey home, then one stop on the tram, then up the hill to our building. I was extremely tired, but found it hard to get to sleep because of being over stimulated.

We bought food for our tea, snacky stuff, and had a $20 champagne each. There is one short interval and one long interval. In the long interval we didn’t have anywhere to sit and ate and drank standing up. Later, we found a bench for a while.

We enjoyed the pre opera talk, which wasn’t about the opera, but about the production. One of the speakers was one of the flying water nymphs and that is why it was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t see her face during the opera. In the production the director wanted singers to do the flying, which involved a lot of training. There are no safety nets and everything depends on the technicians getting it right. She said that for herself, she isn’t frightened and was easily able to adapt her body for singing in a harness, but some of the others had problems.

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