Autumn 2018 marks 50 years of the Glyndebourne Tour.
With the creation of the Tour in 1968, Glyndebourne expanded from a summer Festival to a year-round operation. The company’s pioneering education department followed 18 years later, in 1986, created initially to support the Tour’s outreach programme. Today Glyndebourne is the third largest opera company in the UK as measured by total revenue.
In the past 50 years, the Glyndebourne Tour has: presented 71 different operas by 36 different composers visited 42 venues across the UK and 7 abroad performed to a total audience of over 2 million premiered 17 Glyndebourne productions staged six new commissions enabled 30,000 students to experience opera at a subsidised rate via Performances for Schools, which began in 2006 The driving force behind the Glyndebourne Tour was Sir George Christie, then Chairman of Glyndebourne, whose parents John Christie and Audrey Mildmay founded the Glyndebourne Festival in 1934.
His vision was to make the company’s productions accessible to larger audiences and to champion new talent, aims he successfully achieved and that are still at the heart of the Tour today. Among the internationally acclaimed artists whose performances with Glyndebourne Tour helped establish their careers are Robin Ticciati, Gerald Finley, Emma Bell, Alfie Boe, Roberto Alagna, Edward Gardner and Kate Royal.
Glyndebourne established its own Touring identity immediately, with its innovative productions performed to exceptionally high standards.
All of Glyndebourne’s activity, including the Tour, is underpinned by the success of the privately funded Glyndebourne Festival. It is Glyndebourne’s financial independence that enables it to deliver the bold and adventurous programming on which its international reputation rests.
The Tour receives additional funding from Arts Council England, which also generously supports its education work.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Glyndebourne is hosting a one-off celebratory concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 4 December, starring some of the leading artists who have performed on the Tour. Performers will be confirmed shortly.
All proceeds from the event will be invested in the future of the Glyndebourne Tour and to continue Sir George Christie’s original vision of reaching new audiences and supporting a new generation of artists.
A second celebration event will take place at Glyndebourne on 8 and 9 December. The Glyndebourne Christmas Concert will showcase the talents of the Glyndebourne Chorus and the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra featuring operatic highlights, followed by festive favourites and carols for all.