Operatic proportions

Glyndebourne's Saul

Glyndebourne's Saul - Credit: Bill Cooper

Adored by opera lovers the world over, the chance to experience a Glyndebourne performance in Norwich should not to be missed, writes Rachel Buller

It is an opera company like no other, stirring a passion in those who watch its performances. Glyndebourne has a special history but also looks to the future with a programme which sits classic operas alongside innovative and daring interpretations of new works.

This month the Glyndebourne Tour arrives in Norwich with three imaginative opera productions – Don Pasquale, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Handel’s Saul. It gives those who cannot get their hands on the much sought after tickets for the Glyndebourne Festival season at its East Sussex home, the chance to experience the magic at the Theatre Royal in the city.

The Glyndebourne opened in 1934 – a 300-seat auditorium built by John Christie in the grounds of his country house for his wife, opera singer Audrey Mildmay. His ethos that the opera house should “not just be the best we can do but the best that can be done anywhere” lives on, and it is now an internationally renowned auditorium, seating 1200. Glyndebourne is still run by the Christie family, and every summer the festival has a busy programme of performances featuring world class directors, performers, orchestras and the best emerging talent. The waiting list for membership can sometimes be 10 years long.

In 1968 the company ran its first touring season to make opera more accessible to people all over the UK. It first came to Norwich in 1971, and since the 1990s its tour has become an annual event in the city.

Glyndebourne is at the Theatre Royal, Norwich, from November 17 to 21; box office 01603 630000; www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Henry Waddington will be performing in Handel’s Saul on November 2.