Glyndebourne Tour 2016 reveals the magic of opera


Glyndebourne Tour 2016 arrives in Norwich in late November with two of the world’s most beloved operas and a chance to glimpse ‘behind the curtain’ with an enlightening introduction to the world of opera.

On stage at the Theatre Royal on November 22 and 25 will be Mozart’s irresistible dark comedy Don Giovanni, while November 23 and 26 will see the curtain go up on Glyndebourne’s first ever production of Puccini’s masterwork Madama Butterfly.

And on November 24, Paul Rissmann, who has hosted Classics Unwrapped for BBC Radio Scotland, will reveal the essence of opera for those who are completely new to the art form, or who are simply curious to find out more, with Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain. This brand new special event has been created for Tour 2016 to provide a behind-the-scenes exploration of what goes into putting a production on stage, while at the same time demystifying opera itself with an inspirational look at Don Giovanni.

These exciting and imaginative opera productions are all presented with stunning costumes, breath-taking music and performances from the next generation of opera stars.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly has never been staged by Glyndebourne before.  Puccini loved to portray ‘great sorrows in little souls’ and never did he do so more stirringly than in Madama Butterfly where the storyline is derived from a true tale of a Japanese geisha who marries and then is abandoned by an American sailor. Puccini’s use of authentic Japanese scales and folk melodies gives the music an irresistibly exotic flavour with well-loved numbers such as the Flower Duet, Humming Chorus and the heart-rending aria Un bel dì, vedremo. The cast includes Karah Son as Cio-Cio San, Matteo Lippi as Pinkerton, Francesco Verna as Sharpless, Claudia Huckle as Suzuki, Alun Rhys-Jenkins as Goro and Michael Druiett as Bonze.

Not many comic operas begin with a cold-blooded murder and end with the hero’s consignment to hell – but in Don Giovanni, the lead character faces a day of foiled sexual conquests and murder on his last day on earth which swings restlessly between comedy and tragedy to startling effect. Mozart’s irresistible music follows suit with its famous highlights ranging from Don Giovanni’s sparkling Champagne aria to the seductive duet  Là ci darem la mano, and  director Jonathan Kent’s sleek and suspenseful production, last seen on the Tour in 2010, captures this duality brilliantly.  The cast includes Duncan Rock as Don Giovanni, Anthony Gregory as Don Ottavio, Ana Maria Labin as Donna Anna, with Polish soprano Magdalena Molendowska singing Donna Elvira.

And there is a special event lined up at the theatre on November 24 hosted by Paul Rissmann, a passionate and unique music presenter with a critically acclaimed series of music discovery concerts for adults called Naked Classics. Paul will introduce the key elements of opera culminating in an extended excerpt from Act II of Don Giovanni – demonstrating how opera’s unique combination of music and words powerfully explores every human emotion. Entitled Behind the Curtain, the presentation has been specially created for this tour to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how opera is staged.

All performances, including Behind The Curtain, start at 7.15pm.