Glyndebourne: The Untold History (2014) Movie Script

Glyndebourne is a beautiful country
house in the Sussex Downs
where I live with my wife,
the opera singer Danielle de Niese.
What makes this place unique
is that we also have a world-class
opera house and everything that goes
with it in the gardens.
It was founded by a passionate man -
my grandfather, John Christie
and his equally passionate wife,
the opera singer Audrey Mildmay.
He started the Glyndebourne
tradition with a love story
and it continues as one.
The most unique thing about
Glyndebourne is the idea that
you have all the creative teams
actually living in the house.
It really creates this hive
of information and people, when
they live in close proximity,
you tend to bump into
each other, idea-wise.
It's always been that way,
ever since we started.
There have been strange people
living in this house
ever since I can remember.
Conductors, designers, directors,
assistants, repetiteurs
and not singers.
Except me! Except Danni, of course!
Oh, there's Mr John Christie.
I'm very glad to welcome you.
He was an extraordinary man
in many ways.
I mean, he was a captain
in the First World War
and even though he'd he lost an eye
playing rackets at school,
when he went for his medical,
the doctor asked him
to cover an eye, which he duly did
to read out the letters,
he then read out the letters
and the doctor said,
"And now for the other eye, please."
As he simply went like that...
Fooled the doctor
and got through.
He earned a Military Cross
for his courage and bravery.
He would boost the troops' morale
by reading poetry to them
in the trenches.
During ceasefires, they would shoot
partridges behind the line.
He would get sauces flown out
from Fortnum and Mason's and they
would have slap-up meals in the
trenches while they were waiting.
So I think he was a bon viveur,
but he was an inspiration to
many around him.
He was passionate about music
and he was also
mad about everything German,
from the clothes to the wine, and
he would go round in his lederhosen.
He felt that England did not have
the same culture
that Germany offered.
He loved cars and he had this
wonderful old two-seater,
open-topped sports car.
As a very young man,
he would make trips to
the Wagner festival in Germany
at a time that there were no
car ferries going across the Channel
and he hired a barge
and a raft on which he'd put his car
to tow him across the Channel,
which took him quite a long time,
I think.
Across Europe to get to Bayreuth
to go and see Wagner,
which he lapped up
and was very inspired by.
Well, after the war,
he went back to Eton as a master
and then he inherited
the estate at Glyndebourne,
so at that point he gave up
his schoolmastering career
and he focuses attentions
completely on Glyndebourne.
One of the first things that he did
was knock down a court and an old
and started building this beautiful,
long room and it was
for his friend
Dr Charles Harford Lloyd,
who had been the organist at Eton
and was retiring
and John said to him,
"You must move to Sussex,"
and of course Dr Lloyd replied,
"Well, there are no good organs
for me to play,"
and John said,
"Fine, I'll build you one."
So he had this extraordinary
room built,
which was also to satisfy his own
musical interests,
and he would put on scenes
from operas
and concerts in the organ room,
invite his friends...
He would act and star
in some of them
along with some of his friends,
along with some professionals.
And this is how
he met my grandmother,
who came down to sing the role
of Blonde in Entfuhrung by Mozart.
His usual am-dramers weren't
available, but he was
recommended the services of a young
soprano from the Carl Rosa
Opera Company called Audrey Mildmay
who came with a tenor colleague.
They came down,
they were paid five guineas
and they were given free board
and lodgings.
They came and took part in this
absolutely hilarious amateur
event in the Organ Room.
The result of that was, of course,
that John fell absolutely
head over heels in love
with his soprano, which, when you
look at her, is not really
because she was absolutely gorgeous.
He was at that time about 50,
a confirmed bachelor.
Anyway, she arrived and he fell
instantly in love with her,
took her upstairs, I think, and
showed her his bedroom and told
her that this was where they would
be sleeping when they were married!
She thought that might be
a proposal, but tried to ignore it.
Indeed, she wrote a letter to him
saying, "Please, dear John, do not
fall in love with me."
But it was a bit late!
He already had.
The story goes that he took her
three times to Rosenkavalier,
the Royal Opera house,
and at each time
the Silver Rose was presented
by Octavian
to Sophie, he proposed to her.
The first two occasions,
she told him,
"I just need a little bit
more time."
On the third occasion, he bought
her a diamond-encrusted brooch
and she simply couldn't refuse!
And the rest is history.
They were married in June
and they went to Germany of course,
to listen to opera -
where else would they go?
So they came back
from their honeymoon,
returned home to Glyndebourne
after this wonderful
trip around Europe and John came up
with the idea of extending
the Organ Room, effectively putting
a stage across the end of the room.
And she famously remarked,
"For God's sake, John -
"if you're going to spend all that
money, do the thing properly."
So he took her advice
and built her a 300-seat barn in
the Kitchen Garden of Glyndebourne.
What they wanted to do was create
the festival atmosphere
that they had enjoyed in Europe in
this country, to bring the standard
of performance they'd been enjoying
in Europe into this country.
At that point,
all idea of amateur performances
was completely cast aside.
He was very fortunate to secure
two of Germany's top
directors at that time in Carl Ebert
and Fritz Busch.
This was the period just before 1933
when political interference both from
the left and right was increasingly
becoming a problem in Germany.
A lot of musicians were
denounced in the Nazi press
and one prominent musician
was Fritz Busch, the general
music director in Dresden.
Not Jewish,
but the brother of Adolf Busch,
who was a very famous violinist,
who was an outspoken
opponent of the Nazis and who
actually left Germany in 1929.
Fritz Busch was busy
working in the opera house
and stormtroopers came into the
building while he was rehearsing
and tried to prevent him
from carrying on the rehearsal.
He was forcibly removed
from the opera house.
Adolf Busch, Fritz's brother
and leader of the Busch Quartet,
was stranded in Eastbourne after
a concert and conversation turned
to Glyndebourne over dinner
and the fact that Captain Christie
had built this opera house
in the middle of the countryside
and he was looking for a conductor.
Adolf said, "Well, you could speak
to my brother, Fritz."
Christie and Busch finally met
in the January of 1934 in Amsterdam
and it was a strange
meeting by all accounts.
Fritz expounded at great
length about his beliefs
in music, in singing, in what
he wanted to achieve,
in not wanting to use big names,
wanting to seek out new talents
and so on, and apparently John
sat there, seemed to be asleep.
So Fritz believed.
Then he got up and went, "Yes, that
was very interesting - thank you."
And left.
And Fritz was left apparently
thinking, "Well,
"I don't think anything is going
to come of that," and of course
a week or so later, got the letter
saying, "Right - let's start."
NEWSREEL: Here, members of the cast
were discussing the score
for the night's performance.
The music, too, was under
the direction of
one of the original team -
Dr Fritz Busch.
His influence was
so very civilised and humane.
As a German,
he had the discipline
and the absolute method.
When Busch arrived at Glyndebourne,
the tables were set out
and polished, his ruler and his
red pencils and even his red ink,
which, to my horror - he used to
write on musical scores in red ink
to show that it was for all time.
Fritz Busch suggested this whole
notion of having a producer,
which was completely alien
because there was no such role in
the British opera world at the time.
Fritz Busch had worked with
Carl Ebert in Berlin
and so he contacted Carl.
Carl Ebert was one of the leading
figures in 1920s German theatre.
He was not Jewish,
but since he was to the left,
he was regarded as
a persona non grata
and when the opera house he was in...
the director of was the opera house
that Goebbels took control
of as the Gauleiter of Berlin,
so he was basically removed.
Carl Ebert thought the idea was
completely mad, but came over
anyway to meet with John Christie
and had a look at the theatre,
discovered there was no fly tower,
so all the scenery changes
involved pulling everything out
onto the grass outside the theatre,
but realised that what they
were going to get out of this,
because they sat down the three
men and talked about the budget,
they talked about what
their principles were
and what they wanted to achieve
and they realised
they were going to get
the rehearsal period they needed,
the concentration, the devotion
to producing the best
possible opera
and they both signed up for it.
This man's idea was a real new one.
He said, "I would like to
give my country, in this specific
"kind of art, the kind of perfection
which is unknown up to these days."
And he said, "I want to give my
country something on my expenses."
That made me really quiet -
I shut my mouth and said, "Well,
"if somebody really wants to
"quite a fortune for this reason,
"then I have to contribute
with all my strength,"
and so did my friend Fritz Busch,
And they revolutionised
opera in this country.
And introduced a lot more
drama into opera.
Before that, the singers hadn't
needed to act
and there was no demand for that.
Ebert and Busch brought dramatic
intensity into the operas.
The most important thing, of course,
is to improvise the words.
Really feel that it's the first time
she is dictating a letter,
she had only generally in mind
what she wanted to say,
so let's have it again - come on.
All the visions are coming
from outside,
I'm nearly haunted by visions
to see how people move, what
kind of facial expression they have,
what kind of gestures they have.
I rush up and down,
I make the gestures,
I time carefully the steps,
how to go in, how to go out.
The position of the singers
must be to see the conductor.
Our singers have to be together,
they can see that they
belong to each other.
He was in himself a natural actor,
so he could show very clearly
to the artists what he wanted.
He always had great respect
for the musical requirements
and Busch made sure he did.
They'd speak in German together.
Carl was as good as gold.
Like all producers,
he'd try and get away with it,
but Busch was very firm about it.
Is it possible if I say
we can come in a little earlier to
establish the mood before
we actually start singing?
Excellent idea.
And suddenly going with your cue.
Before the war, this wasn't really
an operatic country.
When we had opera, it was brought in
to the Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden, very short seasons.
There was a wonderful small company,
the Carl Rosa,
which went around the "provinces",
but there wasn't an operatic
It was Glyndebourne really
with the tutelage,
with the direction of Carl Ebert
and Fritz Busch.
Glyndebourne created truly
professional opera in this country.
This was Ebert's creation.
Carl Ebert and Fritz Busch basically
set the tone for everything that
Glyndebourne was to become, which
was not the best that we can do,
but the best that can be done
anywhere, and that was John
and Audrey's motto for Glyndebourne.
Out of the initial meeting
between Fritz Busch
and John Christie in Amsterdam,
they confirmed a two-week season to
start on 28 May 1934, with six
performances of Le Nozze di Figaro
and six performances
of Cosi Fan Tutte.
Rudolf Bing was contacted -
he had worked with both Busch
and Ebert previously.
He was asked to hunt out
the European continental singers
while Busch himself came
over to this country
and auditioned all of the British
singers, including Audrey Mildmay.
There was no assumption that
because she was the boss's wife,
she was automatically
going to get a role.
She had to go through the same
process as everyone else.
And that's how it all began,
in 1934, and she sang
the role of Susanna in The Marriage
of Figaro on May 28, 1934.
The first night was sold out, pretty
much, which, considering they were
charging 2 a seat, which was a lot
of money in anyone's terms -
almost overnight they achieved
exactly what they had set out to do.
They had timed their performance
so that people had an hour
and a half interval in the middle,
they could have their dinner,
stroll in the gardens, look at
the views, soak up the atmosphere
and enjoy absolute
international class opera.
And the critics of the time,
they went away absolutely
bemused by what they had seen.
But they all, to a man, appreciated
that they had seen something
completely new and different
and special.
The second night...which was
the first night, of course,
only seven people came.
So the opera house itself sat
just over 300, it was very,
very empty and then the reviews
really hit the streets
and after that, it was sold out
every single night.
So after a repertoire that was
1938 saw the introduction
of Don Pasquale and Macbeth
and then in 1940, they planned a
repertoire that would have included
Carmen, but of course war broke out
and so everything was abandoned.
Glyndebourne itself was made
over as an evacuee home for
from the East End of London.
Immediately after the war,
there were lots of plans,
John trying to find a way of getting
things started again, but obviously
not having the money because the
whole economic climate had changed.
Having started with Mozart
at Glyndebourne, it was inevitable
that they weren't just going to stick
with that one composer.
As different music directors
and different artistic directors
came through the organisation,
they all brought their own passions.
In 1959, Carl Ebert said
he wanted to do a production
of Der Rosenkavalier as his farewell
gesture to Glyndebourne for the
25th anniversary and he would then
retire at the end of that season.
The atmosphere was very excited here
because they were doing their first
Der Rosenkavalier with
Regine Crespin as the Marschallin
and a Swedish soprano I adored,
Elizabeth Soderstrom,
was singing Octavian.
It was a wonderful production.
A young man called John Cox was
Professor Ebert's assistant - he's
now head of everything in the opera
world, he's a very grand figure.
That was my first season here.
I always think of it as
the Silver Opera
because I think of
the silver anniversary
of Glyndebourne on that year.
I filmed them going round the set,
planning, talking to the
designers, talking to costume makers
and so on and so forth.
The atmosphere was just as it is now,
very excited!
Opera is a wonderful art
when it's all put together,
all the different parts of
the total staging, the costumes,
the design of the singing,
the orchestra.
It was his last season
as artistic director.
I was in complete awe of him,
he had such an incredible reputation
and there was some absurd moment
when Carl Ebert turned to me
and put a tricorn on my head.
I don't know whether he knew
who I was at the time,
because I was a very mere assistant!
It was received remarkably well
by the bulk of the critics,
but the Times critic wrote a rather
caustic review which
so incensed John Christie
that he wrote to every single
member of the audience and asked
them to write to the Times.
Which they did!
All saying that the times was
completely wrong and it was
beautiful and perfect and of course
he was right to stand up to them!
In 1958, John Christie passed
on the reins of the chairmanship
to his son George.
He'd been brought up with
this opera house,
so it was almost in his blood.
My dad took over at
the tender age of 23
and my grandfather died
when he was 28.
MUSIC: L'incoronazione Di Poppea:
Pur Ti Miro, Pur Ti Stringo
My dad, he had a tough time
in the first decade or so.
The '60s were tough economically
and he had to grow Glyndebourne
from its rather homespun beginnings.
The next item I'd like to discuss
is the bookings for The Wild Things
at the National Theatre.
George was a businessman
and he worked for the banking
foundation and was more "in the
world", as it were, than his father.
But when George came, other
things were happening in any case.
I mean, the world was changing -
he was part of a changing world.
He was a real realist as far
as Glyndebourne's finances were
concerned. It was the beginning
of sponsorship in this country.
Initially, cigarette companies were
helping Glyndebourne exist, um...
And he had a lot of charm
and infectious enthusiasm
and was a very adept at raising
funds from the corporate world.
And then as he settled
into the role, as it were,
he started to flex his muscles
a little bit more - there were
alterations to the repertoire and
the way the seasons were structured.
We're going to move onto the next
item on the agenda - the 1983 tour.
His greatest achievement in his eyes
was the establishment
of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera
because he was really aware
that we needed to get these
productions out to a wider audience.
And if the thing doesn't work,
then my own particular livelihood
is at stake in quite some degree.
So, I'm very passionate
about the thing!
It may wear me down, but it's worth
being worn down by passion.
It was actually originally planned
in 1977 that in the 1980
season there would be
a Rosenkavalier.
I was luckily placed to be
the person
they wanted to direct it, but
I didn't want to go mad, you know.
You know, making it totally
Vienna 1900, Freud, Jung
and all that, you know, everybody
is a neurotic or a political
extremist - I didn't want
to do it like that.
Well, Felicity, of course,
everybody thinks of Felicity now
as a Marschallin - I never
thought of her as a Marschallin.
There she was, six feet tall,
slim as a rake...
I loved the character of Octavian.
I'd never played a boy on stage,
so that was quite a challenge,
because I tend to drift around
and obviously Octavian is much
more passionate
and like a young puppy, really.
I always see it in terms of shapes
because the phrases are
so beautiful and so...
I don't know, so bendy!
Not a very musical word, but it's...
sensuous and...
lilting and...
I don't know - it gives one
a lot of opportunities.
The '80s was a golden decade
for Glyndebourne with Peter Hall
as the artistic director and Bernard
Haitink as the music director.
At that stage, Glyndebourne was
an 830-seat opera house -
it had grown over the years
to that size.
But it was too small for
the ever-increasing demand
from the audiences.
It was a cramped, hot,
not-great-acoustically auditorium,
creaking at the seams.
Slowly, within the ages, it dawned
on him that he was going to
have to knock down the dear old
theatre and build a bigger one.
By having a bigger auditorium,
and more seats to sell,
the box office potential is enhanced
and box office potential is
what's going to secure
Glyndebourne's long-term existence.
And so in the late '80s,
he set about fundraising.
The project was 34 million. Not an
insubstantial amount at that time.
But it also...
He got his timing pretty perfect.
It was the height of the boom
in the late '80s
and he took every single
corporate member around a model
in the house here and enthused them
with his vision for the new theatre.
And he managed to raise 75% of the
funds from our corporate members
in return for a 20-year membership.
And we had a closing gala to close
the curtain on the old theatre
and we managed to raise
about 1 million that night.
The bulldozers came in
in August 1992
and knocked down the old theatre.
We still had about 6 million to
raise. It was a nervous moment.
We raised the money
in a boom economy,
but we were very fortunate then
in building the theatre in a slump.
It's reckoned, generally speaking,
that we built a 50 million pounder
for 34 million.
He knew there was going to be
uproar amongst all the old,
traditional audience members,
and there was.
He received
a lot of letters about it
when he finally did take the plunge
and decide to go for it.
But it was absolutely
the right thing to do.
The building was built on time
and on budget.
We won all sorts of awards
for the architecture, the brickwork,
the concrete work, the woodwork.
And we only missed one season,
We opened on May 28, 1994
with another new production
of The Marriage of Figaro,
exactly 60 years after
the first night in 1934.
Opera enthusiasts flocked to
Glyndebourne in Sussex
this evening for the gala opening
of the new opera house.
Champagne, opera and a picnic
on the lawn between the acts.
Glyndebourne has been part
of the English social scene
for 60 years, perhaps the world's
most exclusive opera house.
Tonight, the rich and famous,
but mostly the rich,
came to christen
the new opera house.
You paid for this new theatre
and for this...
..Glyndebourne and the whole
world of opera has a huge debt...
..of monumental proportions
owing to you.
What he did was to take his father's
dream and turn it into a much
bigger dream, which is
called New Glyndebourne.
He had the intelligence,
the drive to force a new opera
house into existence where it would
have been easy to say, "We'll just
go on improving the old one."
People don't want to lose the old
one, but this new house is
a totally different level of sound,
technical quality from the old one.
That's George's achievement -
he's going to leave behind
a great opera house.
And now I think they've probably
all forgotten about the old theatre
and we're now 20 years into this
new theatre
and it is holding up extremely well.
I think we first put Rosenkavalier
into the planning
about four years ago.
There'd been a little bit of a
dearth of Strauss at Glyndebourne,
so we scheduled a new production
of Ariadne, which appeared last year,
and Rosenkavalier in 2014.
It's lovely for me,
because actually I saw the last
production of Rosenkavalier -
amazingly, I managed to get
a dress rehearsal ticket
when I suppose I was in my 20s.
I remember seeing that and
those amazing costumes by Erte.
And it's wonderful now to see
this piece with a very different
but equally brilliant
creative team behind it.
One of the things that's special
about this production is the three
leading characters in it -
the Marschallin, Octavian and Sophie,
all those three singers are singing
their roles for the first time.
And that makes it a very special
experience, not only for us,
but all of them.
I think Glyndebourne has always
been about encouraging young artists.
It's never been particularly
about having established
international stars.
I hope it will give singers
their first opportunities here,
at whatever stage it is
in their career.
Singers like Anna Rajah are at a
different stage of their career.
She is a tremendously talented young
artist and I hope will return
to Glyndebourne in a
principal role in the future.
I live in digs, places that
Glyndebourne organised near Lewes.
The bus is really close,
so every morning it's two minutes
for the bus and I'm here.
This is my first professional job,
which I'm thrilled about.
I remember being at music college
and people talking about,
"Glyndebourne, Glyndebourne,
I really wanted to see this place
and be part of it.
So when my agent told me
that I had an audition with them,
I was absolutely thrilled.
So we'll have choristers this summer
who are having their first
professional engagement,
but we'll have other,
more established singers, singing
roles for the first time.
I travel from London by train.
And then I get met at Lewes
station by a lovely minibus which
takes me into the countryside.
That takes me to work, so it's a
pretty nice commute, I have to say.
Kate Royal is almost a classic
Glyndebourne story.
She came out of the Guildhall just
over ten years ago,
she sang in our chorus in 2003.
She understudied Pamina
in the Magic Flute the next year.
Glyndebourne was my first
professional job.
I went to join the Glyndebourne
chorus, which is something that a
lot of the singers do,
and I was given an understudy,
which was Pamina, and I got to
go on and perform the role twice,
so that was jumping in
at the deep end.
And some critics were in that night
and it just, from then on,
I had a career!
She's had a trajectory
at Glyndebourne which has gone
right from starting in the chorus
to this wonderful role
in Rosenkavalier, which she's singing
for the first time at Glyndebourne.
Tara is an extremely special
performer and we've known Tara
since 2010,
when she came here to sing the small
role of the Sandman in
Hansel and Gretel.
Since that time,
she's had a huge career and is now
one of the most exciting young
mezzo sopranos in
international opera.
I stay in Lewes.
It's a gift to be able to
walk from your little house
across the Downs
and down to Glyndebourne!
You can take a walk like this
every morning.
You're out here in the air,
there's the animals, I mean,
when we started at rehearsals
here, it was lambing season.
It was the most incredible thing
to see every morning.
So you're not only
waking up the body,
but you're waking up your senses.
It's fab.
I mean, I had no idea...
You know, if you think about it,
there is no other opera house
like this. It's really like
a little dream.
I remember first seeing
the sign "Glyndebourne"
and thinking to myself, "Wow, I
can't believe I'm actually here!"
MUSIC: "Also Sprach Zarathustra" from
Don Juan Op.20 by Richard Strauss
I started on this one about
three years ago.
I was directing something in New York
and I spent the first three weeks
that I was there
on finalising the design for this.
But the designer, Paul Steinberg,
had come to London a few times.
I'd wanted some sort of set
that did actually express the wealth
of anachronism that's in this.
There's 19th-century Strauss
waltzes in it.
I love the three different societies
it moves through.
Palace aristocracy...
bourgeois life...
new money.
And lowlife.
This is a very olfactory piece,
as well, Der Rosenkavalier.
There's lots of stuff
about smell in it.
But we tried when we designed it
to feel that each set provoked
a sense of smell.
I mean, we don't pump smells
out into the audience or anything
scary like that.
First act's like...
That's a very exclusive smell.
Very luxurious smell.
Second act is Faninal's Palace.
That could smell of new chair
or new car.
Or kind of the smell you might
have in a room where
the air conditioning is on too cold.
And the third act,
sort of...
that's a bad smell. That's...
mouldy carpet...
I won't say... What was the other?
Oh, ha!
You can't say that
on television in a documentary
about Der Rosenkavalier!
That the third act
should smell of urine!
Strauss, by the age of 29,
was already the most famous
composer in the world before he even
started writing operas and also the
most famous conductor in the world.
His reputation was based
on symphonic music, basically.
Symphonic poems, like Don Juan
or Also Sprach Zarathustra,
which everybody knows from 2001.
It begins in C major
with this very basic...
..theme and C major to C minor.
No black notes,
then the introduction
of black notes...
And then...
Absolutely magnificent.
He wrote two successful operas,
Elektra and Salome, which really
established Strauss's reputation
as a first-rate opera composer.
Hofmannsthal is known principally
as the librettist
for six of Richard Strauss's operas.
He wrote the play Elektra,
which attracted Strauss's attention
and then collaborated on five more
dramas with Strauss.
He was right at the heart of
a creative movement
of literary modernism in Vienna
and very quickly became part of
a group of young writers
called Jung Wien - Young Vienna -
who met in the Cafe Griensteidl
and he rapidly became the dominant
poet of his period.
These dark and bloodthirsty
two operas,
Salome and Elektra,
were in a sense popular modernism.
This was a kind of decadent, shocking
modernism that was highly consumable.
Both Hofmannsthal and Strauss
had ideas of wanting to do
something comic, something lighter
and by the time of Rosenkavalier,
Hofmannsthal wanted to do something
not so much a la mode, if you like.
It's not exactly neoclassical,
but he's wanting to look
back to the 18th century,
he's wanting to, as an Austrian,
he's wanting to plug in a little bit
to the Austrian Catholic
sort of heritage,
the cultural dramatic heritage.
So they're going back
to the Mozart operas
and he's going back to French comedy,
to Moliere.
Artists like Hofmannsthal, and indeed
to some extent, Strauss, who
were members if you like of the high
bourgeoisie, the lower aristocracy,
they, part of them,
longed for that world where
everything was nicely ordered
and everyone knew where they were and
where they were in the class system.
The premiere in Dresden was
incredibly successful,
so much so that
they started putting on
special Rosenkavalier trains to
ply between I think it was Vienna
and Dresden.
Everybody came to see it
and then it came to London.
It has been a smash hit ever since.
Right from the start,
Rosenkavalier was rejected by some
audiences as Strauss stepping back,
as a retreat from this exciting,
colourful kind of modernism
of Salome and Elektra.
When it was first performed in Milan,
it was actually
leafleted at the Scala -
they had leaflets, the Futurists
leafleted the audience, as happens
sometimes an Italian theatres.
Basically denouncing
Strauss for having denied,
having absconded
from the Modernist path
and written this rather aggressive
work that had waltzes,
which they didn't believe were
appropriate at La Scala.
You didn't have waltzes
in serious operas
because that was associated
with operetta.
Salome and Elektra are very advanced
Lots of nasty noises.
There's a dissonant sound...
Turns in Rosenkavalier to...
So everybody thinks,
"Ah, he wants to be popular,
sentimental", but in fact,
Rosenkavalier in my view
is even more sophisticated.
It's longer and it's
more symphonically cohesive.
It's a little bit like a Mahler
symphony in the sense that
very disparate things - folk music,
high art, symphonic things that
come from Beethoven and everything
in between - is brought together
in a symphonic unity.
Strauss was interested in himself.
He was interested
in the promotion of his music
and when the Nazis came to power,
he saw an opportunity for himself.
Up to that point, although he was
still ostensibly the most
famous composer in Germany,
he was, in a way, an old man and sort
of seen as yesterday's musician.
Remember, before the First World War,
he was regarded as a great Modernist,
but by the '20s, his music
was seen as old-fashioned
and he was disregarded by the
younger generation of composers.
So, he saw this opportunity
when the Nazis came to power to
actually occupy the centre stage
once again and one way in which
he hoped to occupy the centre stage
was by assuming a position
of responsibility for the rights
of composers, something he had
fought for all throughout his life.
What I mean by rights
for composers is that
when works are performed,
the composers get proper
royalties for those works
and so he was really
agitating this and thought that
if he would be sympathetic to the new
regime, he would get his way.
And he spoke very warmly about
the new regime because he thought
the new regime was really interested
in music and he actually said to
one friend, "Thank God we now are in
a regime that's interested in music."
And so all through the first years
of the Nazi period, all his actions
seem to be very much in support
of the work the Nazis were doing.
He was never a party member, but at
least the beginning of this stage,
he was very much demonstrating
accommodation to the Nazis.
Do remember, also in '36,
he conducted at the Olympic Games
in the opening ceremony.
He wrote a work called the
Olympic Hymn, which he conducted.
Strauss put on an opera which was
also premiered in Dresden -
Die Schweigsame Frau,
where the libretto was by
the Jewish writer, Stefan Zweig.
The problem with
the collaboration between
Zweig and Strauss was that Strauss
was not Jewish and Zweig was,
and when the opera was premiered
in 1935,
Strauss insisted that Zweig's name
appeared on the playbills,
not just "comedy after Ben Jonson",
but "comedy by Stefan Zweig".
That got him into trouble
with the Nazis.
I believe even Hitler was down
on the list of attendees
for the opening night and as soon
as Strauss began to make a fuss,
the Nazi bigwigs stayed away.
It was illegal, actually, for an
Aryan to collaborate with a Jew.
They wanted to just remove his name
from the playbill and when Strauss
found this out, he threatened to
pull the plug on the whole thing.
And the irony is that Strauss
wrote a letter to Zweig
saying that he was fed up of his job
as president of the
He was only play-acting and all
he was interested in was good art
and preserving good art,
and the letter was intercepted
by the Gestapo
and sent directly to Hitler.
Then he was made to resign,
so ironically,
although he was a representative
of the German Government in '36,
he'd fallen out with the hierarchy,
but they were
able to use him as a kind of puppet
for their own propaganda.
The end of the Second World War,
when the Americans came into Germany
and Strauss was in his villa
and he came out and he saw
the American soldiers,
he immediately introduced
himself to the American soldiers.
He said, "I am Richard Strauss,
the composer of Der Rosenkavalier."
He said that because he knew
it was his most popular opera.
I think the key to Rosenkavalier
is in the three central characters.
First of all there's the Marschallin
who we see right at the beginning
of the opera enjoying a night of
passion with her lover, Octavian.
And she's somebody who is very much
aware of the passing of time
and aware of the fact that Octavian
will at some point become
bored with her and move on,
and indeed, in Richard's production,
there's the sense that she too
might become bored with him.
Octavian himself is a very
interesting role that Strauss has
created. Very much in
a Mozart manner,
he has created it as a trouser role.
It's actually...
The character is a man,
but played by a woman and confusingly
during the course of the opera,
the man, Octavian himself,
dresses up as a woman,
so there's all sorts of confusion and
pandemonium that results from that.
The third character is the rather
sad character of Sophie,
who is just the pawn in Baron Ochs'
plans to marry into money.
And she is the person who almost
inevitably at the end
of the opera falls in love with
Octavian and the two of them finish
the opera together, leaving the
Marschallin back on her own again.
It tends to move chronologically
between the 18th century of
Maria Theresa to the period
when it was written, which is
1910 to 1912 in Vienna.
Well, I had read Zweig's The World
Of Yesterday and the first third
is about people who lived
in Vienna,
actually just before the
Rosenkavalier was written.
You get a very strong idea of all
those men being voracious readers,
voracious consumers
of theatre, all intensely
hothouse plants, particularly
the young Hofmannsthal,
who they all idolised.
There were some films I've found -
pornography - in this period.
And was amazed how playful
and innocent the situations were
in these films.
They were nearly all about class,
always about masters with maids.
And it's written in the age
of burgeoning psychoanalysis.
So, yes, it's a can of worms!
Richard wanted Kate to appear naked,
so there's a Spanx under there
and a bra under there and then,
cos she's put seams in as if it's a
garment rather than just a bodysuit.
Because it's all about the skin tone
and the different textures,
so it's not REAL real,
but it looks it from the stage,
but you're not quite sure
what you're looking at.
The role of the Marschallin
is one of those iconic
roles for the soprano voice.
And, in all honesty,
it took me a long time to say yes
and to decide that it was something
I felt that I could take on.
She's a very bright and confident
and lively woman who just happens
to be in this marriage
that has forced her into this cage,
She is a princess, as well.
In the Austrian way, she has
all sorts of different titles,
she's the field marshal's wife
and she's a princess.
So she's part of the nobility
and she's married of course into
ancestral wealth and estates and she
has a beautiful house and lots of
servants and people come to her with
petitions and all the rest of it.
So she's at the centre of a social
whirl which she is to some extent
being slightly subversive of
in her own lifestyle.
Well, she is the most interesting
character and she does have...
She's a Christian,
but her Christianity
is not beleaguered by guilt.
And she sees sex as part of nature
and she sees it as
a very glorious thing.
Very well aware of her
position in society,
she knows that she cannot
step outside of the boundaries.
I think it's her escape,
you know, having an affair
and we know that it's not just
been him, there's been many before.
There'll probably be more after.
But it's her escape and her way of
expressing herself, being free and
just allowing herself some freedom
in an otherwise very strict society.
Octavian is absolutely obsessed with
her, she's so lush and exciting.
This is a young guy
who is really experiencing life,
he's absolutely obsessed
with the Marschallin.
She's introduced him
to life as a man,
so to speak, life in the bedroom.
And this is overwhelmingly exciting.
The role of Octavian
was always intended to be cross cast,
so sung as a soprano
played by a woman.
That means that from the perspective
of the audience,
what you see is a woman pretending
to be a man,
pretending to be a woman.
So I spend, let's say, at least
80% of my opera time as a boy.
It's almost the inverse
of the scene in Life Of Brian
where you've got the stoning scene
and you've got men pretending to be
women pretending to be men.
But, unlike in Life Of Brian,
where it's always quite clear
that they are men
putting on a falsetto,
in the opera,
it's always clear that it is a woman
because she's singing as a soprano.
Let me tell you, to play
a little boy is so much fun!
You can get so dirty,
it's all really loose in your body,
none of this where ladies have to
sit upright and keep their knees
together and have great posture -
none of that nonsense!
Hofmannsthal certainly
was interested in androgyny.
In, if you like, erotically charged
same-sex relationships.
And that certainly is then present
in Rosenkavalier.
Indeed, one can read
the opening to the first act
as a sort of lesbian love scene.
It's a sort of safe way
of looking at homoeroticism.
It's a slightly titillating
and licentious way of looking at
female homoeroticism I think, yes.
The starting point
is very often our music director
and what they want to do.
This summer, we have a
new music director, Robin Ticciati,
and he has chosen
an opera by Strauss.
I am a continuation.
I am joining a train.
The history of the place is huge
and carries with it an incredibly
deep artistic belief and philosophy
and so I want to join that.
We are in the Organ Room
at Glyndebourne where there have
been many rehearsals with singers
and pianists
to set up an opera,
the beginnings of the opera process.
I'm often asked what the conductor
does before the orchestra comes
in an opera process.
For me, these four weeks, five weeks
of just singers, director
and pianist is a way of setting up
the opera and the scene.
I thought we would start
in the middle of Act Two, Baron Ochs.
Baron Ochs has just found Octavian
and Sophie together.
And we're left with this noise
at 133.
Just five bars of orchestra.
And there's a mixture of trombones,
tuba, basset horns,
clarinets and you can hear that all
immediately in the piano
and the whole thing about
setting up a relationship
with the pianist in the room,
it's about creating an energy whereby
the singers can imagine
their character, imagine
the feeling of the pit, but four
weeks before the orchestra arrive.
I mean, even in this third bar,
the tuba appears -
tell me about the tuba.
You spend years preparing the score.
It's a great sound, isn't it?
It's very dark...
And it all melds into...
a strong legato to...
..this extreme chord.
With the timpani.
So you're always thinking
orchestrally. Yes.
The first time we did that,
we played it through and then
when we were in the scene,
I remember just sharing with Duncan
a little more of the tuba line
and Richard said, "Ah!"
"That's the moment where
just Octavian and Sophie
"could just melt back
into the atmosphere
"and really feel the presence
of Ochs on the scene."
Let's just play it once again
with that.
And so it's the idea of creating
a palette, orchestral palette,
where the singers feel completely
in the world of Der Rosenkavalier.
But the first kiss, you know,
Sophie never kissed anyone before
in our production and we were
really experimenting about the places
where there would be stillness.
If you play just before two
before 116...
Just that chord.
Just on this... Or whatever
chord it is, that's the beautiful
thing about music, no-one has
to know, but anyone can feel that.
I think the beautiful thing
about Glyndebourne
is the fact that it never apologises
for the rehearsal length.
This is what we do here.
It gives you an opportunity
to go to the heart
of a piece of music.
I was very happy to make my debut
here because I knew
we would have a lot of time
and, for this role, we need...
For this opera,
we need a lot of time.
Every opera and every important
thing that we do in our life
must be done with a lot
of work and determination
and this is the case with
Rosenkavalier, with the rehearsal.
Every detail was worked very hard.
SHE SINGS AN EXCERP The role of Sophie,
it's never a disappointment
when you get a perfect Sophie after
a perfect Marschallin in Act One.
With a good Sophie,
you should, really,
more or less
forget about the Marschallin
until she comes back in Act Three.
Sophie is her father's daughter,
there's a sort of feistiness,
there's a row between father
and daughter in the second act.
She backs down at the last minute
when she sees that
it's affecting his health.
But she has spirit,
she has feistiness.
Sophie is a very young girl,
she's 15.
She's innocent,
she is very clever
and, um...
she is looking forward
to be married, which is OK.
Strauss is, um...
..a master in putting the music
in the right place.
I think the role of Sophie
is written in a certain way
that it makes Sophie very young.
Strauss uses the orchestra and
the various sections and instruments
as vocalists,
every inch as much of the singers -
they play an equal part.
First of all,
the way Strauss composed operas,
he would read the libretto
and when he was reading the libretto
he would put in little scraps of
melody in the side of the column,
At the Presentation of the Rose,
in Act Two,
he would think of that, or...
Something like that.
That is to say he has little
bit of themes like this...
And so forth, which he then
puts on a sort of conveyor belt
of symphonic continuity,
but for that, he has to go to
the beginning
and then compose through logically.
I suppose the cue
for orchestral illustration
of human emotions really for Strauss
comes particularly from Wagner
and the use of the orchestra
and of course the leitmotifs.
I mean, for the Marschallin,
you have this extremely short motif,
you first hear it in the passage
where the lower strings are sighing.
And... # Dee-da-dum... #
They're sighing away there,
but it's the solo wind,
you've got the oboe and then the
clarinet and then the flute going...
# Da da-dee dum
# Da da-dee dum... #
And that motif goes through
100 manifestations
of the Marschallin's
countless changing moods.
Strauss knew immediately
the importance of the linking,
of how motifs would link
material in these operas.
Of course he uses that knowledge with
his knowledge of Wagner to actually
understand how the motovic material
works in Rosenkavalier.
When they're indicating a character,
when they're indicating a mood,
it's understanding
those small, important moments
within the score as well,
whilst managing to take
that whole global approach.
Actually, the orchestra
is the storyteller.
The orchestra tells everything.
You don't know your character yet?
No. OK, so...
This is you.
A lot of people think Glyndebourne
is just about singers
and people working on the stage.
I'm just going to raise
it up and down...
But we're very lucky here
that we're able to attract
some exceptional craftspeople to
come and work here at Glyndebourne.
We have amazing props makers,
costume makers, stage crew,
people of all kinds of skills
and crafts.
And in a way I think
we add something extra
to the whole community of Sussex
by bringing these very wonderful
specialists into the community here.
Often they start here commuting
from London, then they love Sussex
and they come down here and stay.
We have 150 full-time posts
here at Glyndebourne.
But that expands to
well over 500 in the summer.
It's like a real... craft
industry here,
cos everybody's so good at it
and so wants to do it.
It's quite unusual to find
such a level of skill.
The dye shop, the men's tailoring
department, you know,
there's not one single element
which doesn't work.
Richard Jones was really keen
that we didn't end up
with a very 18th century
kind of look for everything.
Really high wigs
or all those sort of drapes.
And also to try and allow the
performers to still be themselves.
This is a smaller cut of
the fleur-de-lis print
we did for the servants, which was
basically a copy of the set,
but Nicky added fleur-de-lis
that she'd found online
and we went to a traditional
printers, locally.
So you've got random images
of fleur-de-lis on top of
Paul Steinberg's design
of the set, which then...
Jenny did the orange - we had
an orange velvet fleur-de-lis here
and lots of different trims
and tassels all in orange,
which upstairs magicked
into fabulous costumes.
I was thinking about the fact that
you have so many people on stage,
but she still has to stand out.
And I had found a reference for
something that was very inspiring -
this is a fashion photograph -
and it was really inspiring
because it was incredibly white
and the 18th century is associated
with white skin, white wigs.
And I also wanted to really zap
the colour up against the white,
so it was like a really
extreme contrast.
And in the end I found these
19th century seed packets
that we then took to the printers.
You know, it's really toxic colour
onstage, which is absolutely spot-on.
'It's just a lovely chance to, not
to try and modernise Rosenkavalier,
'because that's impossible.
'The difficulty is
with a role like that,
'it's fixed in people's minds
as to what they expect.'
Some of the greatest singers have
sung her and my job, I guess,
is to try to...
acknowledge that and be aware of it
but also to steer the audience
in a new direction.
She's very strong and I think that
perhaps in a lot of past productions
that hasn't come across so well
and she's become a bit of a victim
of her own circumstance
and I really wanted to try and bring
more positivity to her, really.
I think there can be an expectation
that the Marschallin should be
played, by the actress, as someone
who goes on to a sort of
default setting of...
depression and dignity.
And I've...
..tried to work against that
'It was an interesting process
trying to find what drives her.'
'She's very well aware
of her position in society.
'She knows that she cannot step
outside of the boundaries,'
so she's coming to terms
with that in the piece,
coming to terms with her role
and how she can fulfil that
but still be happy,
still be a happy human being.
And she is not an old woman. She's
still beautiful, she's still young.
But she is feeling
the ageing process
and the specific situation
with Octavian being a younger lover,
and later, Sophie the girl
he falls in love with,
leads her to reflect on the larger
issues of time and impermanence.
Marschallin is Hofmannsthal's
mouthpiece for this sense of -
das Gleitende, he called it -
where everything is in flux.
The Marschallin is
a middle-aged woman
having an affair
with a young man of 17.
'And effectively trying
to stop the clocks by doing it.'
'The libretto is shot through
with endless references
'to the present,
the past, the future.'
When she talks to Octavian,
she says,
"It's going to be heute oder
morgen - today or tomorrow."
Time is such an important
part of...
Well, the Marschallin
talks about it and talks about
sometimes she gets up
and stops all the clocks.
She can't believe how time...
You're in it and then all of a sudden
it just slips away
through your fingers and...
Like sand running through
a timer, you know?
The text is so, so wonderful,
the Hofmannsthal text.
Absolutely extraordinary.
And I think...
Strauss' music is glorious
but the text is so...relevant
to everybody, really.
I think everyone can identify
with the Marschallin, who says,
"How can it be that...
"that I was the young girl
and I shall be the old woman,
"and I'm still the same?"
Gets me every time when I say that
because it's obvious,
absolutely obvious, but so true.
And you don't...
You don't realise it.
I think when you're young
you think you're going to grow up
or you're going to grow old,
but inside you're just the same,
it's just everybody else...
REPORTER: After rehearsal,
the cast could relax in the lovely
grounds, which are as much a part
of a Glyndebourne festival
as the performances themselves.
We live in
an artistic commune here, really.
I mean, the house
is filled with people
who are involved with the operas.
That's not something you see
in every opera house.
I think that really promotes
a very high level of creativity.
Cos when you're happy you can create.
When I first came here, people
asked me, "Where are you working?"
And I'd say, and they'd say "Where's
that? What does it do? Really?"
"Sussex? An opera company?
No, you're kidding."
When I think of what I learned
down here - learned to drive,
I learned to swim.
All kinds of things.
You were here and that was it.
Great parties, amazing parties.
Especially with the chorus.
But... It was a life.
It was a way of life.
I enjoyed very much this opera house.
What is very beautiful after
the rehearsing - the rehearsal -
you can go out and see the sheep...
..beautiful nature...
It's just wonderful.
It's like a little piece of heaven.
Got these wonderful gardens
to walk in, there's fresh air,
you've time to let your head relax.
You have countryside
and you have the sheep.
I remember when I first came
to Glyndebourne,
the first thing I remember
were the sheep in the fields.
It's a bit like planet opera
and that can become quite oppressive.
It's a little opera bubble,
you know? And it's wonderful.
You know, if you were in London
it's a little different.
You might be working in the morning
and a bit in the afternoon
and then you're somewhere else,
in a different world, in a sense.
Well, when you're living at
Glyndebourne, this doesn't happen.
I mean, I live in South London
and you can sort of long for
the trains to draw in
at the junction on Vauxhall
just so that you can
smell the streets.
It's very peaceful but then when you
go inside to Glyndebourne, you're
working with the music and I just
think it's really nice to have both.
You can want to run away, yeah.
REPORTER: By the croquet lawn,
Mr Harvey, the head gardener, trims
the flowers in the white border he's
designed for this year's display.
'People always think this idea
of presenting a silver rose
'to the daughter's nobility
'is a long-established
Viennese tradition.'
Hofmannsthal made it up.
He based it on the papal tradition
of the church, the Pope,
presenting a golden rose to
the daughters of the nobility.
And, of course, when Octavian
arrives, Strauss gives him
a great operatic set piece,
which we sit back and think,
"This is wonderful."
But, of course, as Adorno,
the great Marxist critic said,
"What is the offer?
It's merely a fake rose."
It's not a real one at all,
it's a silver rose, it's a fake.
And, of course, it is
an incredibly poetic idea.
I mean, people are manufacturing
silver roses for people
who love Rosenkavalier, you know,
because it's such a beautiful thing.
'One of the things I love most is
the presentation of the rose because'
Richard has done this extraordinary
thing of slightly refocusing
that particular scene,
so the moment and the beginning
when Sophie and Octavian
usually fall in love with each other,
when they're stammering
and stuttering their lines out,
actually becomes a little piece of
artifice of the sort of ceremony
they're going through,
where they actually had to be
prompted to say those lines.
But then when they
really do fall in love,
the choreography of this moment where
the two of them are just rocking
gently from side to side, I think,
is just so beautiful and so touching.
'The presentation of the rose
is Octavian's key,
'which is F-sharp major.'
And G-major, which is Sophie's key
Coming together...
F-major. And so forth.
Sophie and he are perfectly aware
that it's an artificial rose -
it's been made,
as the music is being made.
The point is that there has to be,
though, an emotional unity
between all the characters.
And Hofmannsthal, when he
wrote this marvellous,
short summary of Rosenkavalier,
he comes up with a phrase at the
end - "Eintracht der Lebendigen,"
the unity of everybody living.
Octavian is the glue between Ochs
and the Countess, for example,
and he comes together with Sophie,
and all of the characters
on the stage,
right down to the serving maids
and so forth -
they are together
in this wonderful unity.
'depends on each other
to have any kind of future.'
In any kind of good existence,
we all must depend on each other.
And Richard's made that
exceptionally clear.
Yeah, it's a very delicate, lovely
piece but, actually, is quite heavy
and quite strong and probably could
cause someone some kind of anguish.
'Rosenkavalier is the opening
production of the 2014 season
'and it's just one of
six productions and 76 performances
'we're doing at Glyndebourne
this summer.'
REPORTER: At Victoria Station in the
middle of the afternoon it is unusual
to see one's fellow travellers
in evening dress.
But the train for Glyndebourne
leaves at 3:45,
so as to be in time
for the evening performance.
John Christie wanted people
to dress in evening dress
to respect the artists. He said,
"The artists have made an effort
"and we as audience members
should make an effort."
Mother's coming by car.
Mm. Father told me.
The first night of the season
is the reopening of the theatre
that has been closed
for several months.
So there's a huge amount
of preparation that is needed
just to start the festival off
again each year.
I suppose we're one of those
organisations where we want
everything to appear very smooth
and there's a lot of paddling
that goes on underneath.
So first night's completely
nerve-racking for everybody here,
not just the artists on the stage,
but actually let's not forget
the people working front of house.
I will be over there and when I give
clearance to the stage manager
to say we're ready, I will cue
the doors to close on that side.
So you all just need to keep
an eye on those doors.
And as soon as that one closes,
everybody just follow suit.
OK? Great.
And is there anything anybody
wants to ask me, tell me? Say?
MAN: We haven't had any payslips
for the last week.
No payslips for last week? OK.
We were paid...
You were paid, that's the main thing.
REPORTER: Outside the station,
a number of coaches stand by
to take the London audience
to the Sussex opera house, in time
for the evening performance.
Follow that bus.
Glyndebourne? Right, sir.
It's incredibly important
that people come here
and have a great experience
when they arrive here.
And Jules is one of those
remarkable people who cares
passionately about how people feel
when they're here and has
extraordinary levels of customer
service, which we're very proud of.
The audience come off the train,
get onto the bus,
and they get brought up
to Glyndebourne
and at the end of the evening
they're taken back to Lewes Station.
This is our coach park
and it's also for chauffeurs.
You can walk wherever you want to
and you can bring whatever
you want to for a picnic.
We see lots of people here with very
lavish picnics. You can come here
with your sandwiches from
Marks & Spencer if you want to.
And I've done that myself
in the past before I worked here
and it's a very easy way and relaxed
way of spending the interval.
And indeed,
if you have a simple picnic,
you've got even more time
to walk around the grounds.
It's a perfect Glyndebourne day -
hot and sunny.
A lot of our audience
go to the restaurants
but some people bring
their own picnics.
And people have their favourite spots
as well, so they try and get here
as early as they can
to grab their favourite place.
The shows start quite early,
so it's very light,
it's sunny outside
and the audiences are there,
you can hear the audience
having their picnic
and doing all of that stuff.
So it is quite hard to focus.
What I'm interested in
is value for money.
I've been here once before
and that was six years ago.
I've been saving up to come back
again and tonight's the night.
Look, the first thing to say is that
opera is a very expensive art form,
wherever it's put on, Glyndebourne
or anywhere else.
I think people often
don't do the maths
when they go to an opera performance
and realise that, you know,
take this Rosenkavalier,
there are 70 people in the pit
playing in the LPO,
there's a chorus of 30,
there's another 15-odd principals,
there's probably six actors,
and there's always people backstage.
Did you want to go in today?
Is it one or two? Just for me.
Yes, I think I've got one for you.
Being a conductor, you probably
like to be over the pit.
PA SYSTEM: Mr Ticciati, Mr Ticciati,
this is your call.
Thankfully, I'm not singing.
Ah, the bell.
Now for your initiation. Perhaps
we'll see you in the interval.
First bell.
Blue circle, box G.
Quickest way is just to go straight
ahead there, up to the next level.
He's just gone...I mean, he'll be
back in a second. OK. That's fine.
You guys don't have a Swish Car,
do you?
I'm so sorry.
OK, all the doors are closed now.
A Broadway show doctor says, "Always
put in an amazing 11 o'clock number."
And, of course, it's got the best
11 o'clock number of all shows
in the form of this trio
between these three women.
'Which is launched
by the Marschallin'
in this incredibly taxing
opening phrase.
It's just so iconic and everyone's
waiting for that line.
'It is one of the only moments
where we just stand and sing.'
'But then, of course,
Sophie dovetails with her
'and at times goes above her.'
'Strauss just pulls it all together
'and produces this extraordinary,
affecting moment.'
'And the way he blends the three
voices together in that trio
'is so beautiful.'
'The female voices
shamelessly consume you.'
'And they're always rising phrases
and climaxes'
and it goes on and up and up.
I'm not very articulate about
describing music, I just...
I just love it and it
seems absolutely...
..right and perfect to me
for what he's describing.
'The Marschallin is engaging
in a soliloquy with us
'of remembering things
she said in the first act -'
' "I've got to give up this boy,"
' "He's got to go off with this
beautiful girl and they're going to
' "marry and I've got to realise
that I'm getting older."
'So, in a sense,
it is through her eyes.'
It is the farewell
to an older world.
And she realises that she has got to
move into a new kind of life.
'I had to really think carefully
about how I was going to not allow
'that to affect me
and not allow yourself to get
'too emotionally involved,
personally involved.'
And that's something which,
as a singer,
is crucial because
if you let yourself go,
emotionally, you can't sing,
you know?
And nobody wants to see
a weeping soprano
struggling their way
through the trio of Rosenkavalier.
'Strauss, he understood very well
a woman's soul.
The feeling of a young woman
like Sophie.
The feeling of an older woman
like the Marschallin.
'Octavian, he is in
such a difficult position.'
'He's not over the Marschallin
but he has to let her go.
'And he knows she's going
to walk out that door,'
he knows his heart will break,
yet he knows that the possible
love of his life is just standing
on the other side of the room.
So torn. And he sees
that both the women are torn.
He's hurt both of them.
And he can't help both of them.
And it's just this
emotional roller coaster
with the most incredible music.
The most incredible music.
'And it was the music that
was played at Strauss' funeral.'
Where all where all the sopranos
fell out, one by one,
cos they were all in tears.
It's wonderfully appropriate
this season is dedicated to George.
Rosenkavalier, it was our
25th anniversary production,
it's here in our 80th year.
It was one of his favourite operas.
He was listening to the music
the night before he died.
And I just think it's magical.
I will miss him for his choice
of repertoire, directors.
He always had something
to say about it.
He knew more about opera
than anyone I know.
And I will miss him and his wisdom.
I hope in 80 years from now people
will be looking back and saying,
"It hasn't changed very much."
Because although we innovate and
we find new ways of doing things,
the core of Glyndebourne
has always been exactly the same.
And I often think,
"What would John Christie think
now if he looked at Glyndebourne?"
And I think he would say,
"That's great, they're still
doing fantastic work.
"They're still giving their
audiences an amazing experience.
"They're still looking after
young artists."
Which was very important to him.
But the thing I think he would be
really surprised about would be
the range and breadth
of what we're doing.
And I hope he would be absolutely
thrilled we're reaching
a vast audience that in 1934
he could never even have dreamt of.