I have always wanted to go to the opera. The idea of dressing up and watching a performance that evokes respect, awe and emotion is something that has been top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I’ve dropped hints to James over the years and together we’ve dreamt of going, but somehow (three boys and busy lives!) haven’t got round to making it happen. However, thanks to an invite from Glyndebourne for the opening night of the festival to see Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, we finally got to go. And as it happens, conveniently close to home…
Yet another perk to living in Brighton (the pro’s are endless) is that it’s a short train ride from the beautiful village of Glynde, where the Glyndebourne estate is situated.
I knew as soon as we were invited that I wanted to wear Rejina Pyo. I have loved the brand ever since it emerged, and this was the perfect occasion for it. I chose the beautiful Irene dress knowing that I’d be outside for a large portion of our time at Glyndebourne and the linen fabric and longer sleeves were just right for the time of year. And James finally got to wear his tux again!
Attending the opera at Glyndebourne is so much more than just turning up to a performance. The East Sussex countryside opera house on the Glyndebourne estate has been the venue for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera since 1934 and is a setting steeped in history, boasting the most beautiful grounds. On performance dates the venue opens at 3pm upon which, guests are invited to enjoy the grounds and set up a picnic on the lawns.
During this time we were treated to a tour of the Organ Room which was built by Glyndebourne founder John Christie for his soprano wife Audrey Mildmay. After enjoying the space and finding out more on the history of the venue we made our way outside for a stroll through the grounds, finishing at our picnic table for a pre performance drink overlooking the lake.
At 5pm a series of three bells ring as a prompt to make your way to the opera house for Part I of the performance. I absolutely loved seeing out what people were wearing! Everyone makes a real effort at Glyndebourne, turning out in traditional evening dresses and tuxedos. My favourites were some of the older gents that were wearing velvet jackets… So dapper!
This year is the first time Madama Butterfly has ever been performed at Glyndebourne, and with so many of the audience being seasoned opera devotees, there was definitely a tangible sense of excitement in the air.
With Part I of Madama Butterfly complete, we emerged from the opera house and headed back to our table by the lake to enjoy a River Cottage picnic. The 90 minute interval was ample time to enjoy our meal and take a stroll around the lake before heading back inside to watch Part II which was so amazing!
This was an experience I will never forget and am so grateful to have had. Mozart will be back at Glyndebourne next year and as he is one of my favourite composers I think we’ll be heading back in 2019!
[ad] In partnership with Glyndebourne
Photography by Dunja Opalko