Works by six female composers, comprising two new operas and a rarely performed influential work, will be staged at Glyndebourne in 2022. Pioneering feminist composer Ethel Smyth’s work The Wreckers will open Glyndebourne Festival 2022. The Company described the opera as a powerful, cinematic psychodrama set on the Cornish coast, the most successful of Smyth’s operas in her lifetime, and an influential work that many people know by name but few have actually seen. It is the first production by a major opera house since 1939 and the first-ever staging of the original French-language version.
Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director of Glyndebourne, said: “Ethel Smyth was a serious and important composer, championed by the likes of Thomas Beecham and Bruno Walter. Our new staging of The Wreckers will, in one sense, be a world premiere, because it’s the first time the opera will be performed in French, as she originally conceived it. There’s been lots of sleuth-work involved in putting the original score and text back together again and we’re delighted to be giving this neglected masterpiece its first major staging in over eighty years.”
The production, directed by Melly Still and conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati, will also break new ground in leading the charge towards making opera in a sustainable way.
All of the new productions at the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival will embrace the baseline principles set out in the Theatre Green Book initiative, led by the Theatres Trust and supported by Glyndebourne. Stephen Langridge said: “This show will reinvent the way we think about productions at Glyndebourne. For all of the new productions at next year’s Festival, more materials will be recycled from our stores, with plans for the disposal or reuse of every component agreed in advance with our production teams. It is a major step towards making theatre in a truly sustainable, environmentally friendly way that will make a big difference as we work towards our long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral in our direct operations.”
The Wreckers is one of four new productions at next year’s Glyndebourne Festival. Also planned is a new staging of La bohème. Dutch director Floris Visser makes his Glyndebourne directorial debut working alongside conductor Jordan de Souza. Also new will be a double bill of operas by Poulenc – La Voix Humaine and Les Mamelles de Tirésias conducted by Robin Ticciati. Following his Ravel Double Bill for Glyndebourne in 2012, French director Laurent Pelly takes on two more contrasting French masterpieces. Stéphanie d’Oustrac takes on the role of Elle in La Voix Humaine. The final new production in the season is Francesco Micheli’s new staging of Handel’s Alcina, which was due to premiere at the 2020 Glyndebourne Festival before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Cohen conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Completing the lineup are revivals of Mariame Clément’s production of Don Pasquale conducted by Ben Glassberg and Michael Grandage’s swinging sixties-inspired Le nozze di Figaro. Conducting is shared between Giancarlo Andretta and Nicholas Carter.
Glyndebourne Festival 2022 runs from 21 May – 28 August 2022. Full casting to follow.
2022 will be bookended by two brand new operas, both by female composers. In February 2022 Glyndebourne will present the world premiere of Pay the Piper, a new youth opera jointly composed by the four participants of Balancing the Score, a development programme exclusively for female composers.
Anna Appleby, Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Cecilia Livingston and Ailie Robertson have collaborated with writer Hazel Gould to create a new work based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The opera will be directed by Sinéad O’ Neill, with the young American-British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck conducting the Psappha ensemble, specialists in the performance of work by living composers. The production, delayed by the pandemic, will be the first Glyndebourne show to take place in the theatre’s stalls rather than on the stage. This was necessitated by essential work to replace and automate Glyndebourne’s 27-year-old backstage systems, but has been embraced for its creative opportunities.
Stephen Langridge said, “You’ll get a completely different view on the theatre, a completely new acoustic. It’s an experience that may not ever happen again, but an opportunity to play in that wonderful space and just see what happens. It’s also fantastic to start the year with a youth opera that will get young people singing again at a
time when opportunities for this are increasingly under threat.”
Following in the autumn of 2022 is a new work by composer Samantha Fernando and writer Melanie Wilson examining themes of loneliness that will include real-life testimonies drawn from a diverse range of communities.
Glyndebourne Festival 2022 repertoire
Ethel Smyth – The Wreckers
Ten performances between 21 May – 24 June 2022
A new production for the 2022 Festival directed by Melly Still
Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Cast includes French mezzo soprano Clémentine Margaine as Thirza and Mexican tenor
Rodrigo Porras Garulo as Mark, both making Glyndebourne debuts. German baritone
Markus Brück will perform the role of Pascoe, with Australian soprano Lauren Fagan as Avis
Giacomo Puccini – La bohème
Eighteen performances between 11 June – 14 August 2022
A new production for the 2022 Festival directed by Floris Visser making his Glyndebourne
Jordan de Souza makes his Glyndebourne Festival debut conducting the London
The cast is headed by Chinese tenor Long Long and Chilean soprano Yaritza Véliz as the lovers
Rudolfo and Mimi, with South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu returning to Glyndebourne in the
role of Musetta
George Frideric Handel – Alcina
Fourteen performances between 2 July – 24 August 2022
A new production for the 2022 Festival directed by Francesco Micheli delayed from the 2020
Festival which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Jonathan Cohen conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Cast includes Canadian coloratura soprano Jane Archibald in the title role, Chinese soprano
Ying Fang as Morgana and the 2018 Glyndebourne Opera Cup winner Samantha Hankey as
Francis Poulenc – Double Bill: La Voix Humaine and Les Mamelles de Tirésias
Ten performances between 6 – 28 August 2022
A double bill of two new productions for the 2022 Festival directed by Laurent Pelly
Robin Ticciati conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Stéphanie d’Oustrac stars as Elle in La Voix Humaine, while the cast for Les Mamelles de
Tirésias includes French soprano Elsa Benoit as Thérèse.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Le nozze di Figaro
Sixteen performances between 22 May – 16 July 2022
A revival of Michael Grandage’s Glyndebourne Festival 2012 production Giancarlo Andretta and Nicholas Carter conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gaetano Donizetti – Don Pasquale
Ten performances between 22 July – 27 August 2022
A revival of Mariame Clément’s Glyndebourne Tour 2011 production
Ben Glassberg conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Main image: James Bellorini