Glyndebourne - Die Fledermaus

As we go to press there are still tickets available for tonight’s performance of Johan Strauss’ opera Die Fledermaus, albeit at a staggering £160. These are the last tickets available until June 22nd. You can’t argue that Glyndebourne’s not an expensive venue: the Festival’s apologists argue that it’s the best £160 you’ll ever spend. So what can you expect for your money? Well, a pretty good setting, for a start: the opera house is in the grounds of the estate of Sir George Christie, who set up the Festival in 1934. Originally the operas were performed in an extension to the side of the house: in 1994 a magnificent new hall was built. Then there’s the people-watching. Punters arrive in dinner suits and evening dresses, and set out their picnics with as much grace as possible in a carefully strategic position a couple of hours before the opera starts. A walk round the lake is pretty compulsory, as is a Pimm’s in the bar before going up to your seat.

Finally, of course, there’s the opera itself. The works put on there are of consistently high quality: today’s performance is Johan Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, a romantic comedy set in and around a Viennese Ball, and a dark glance at the sexual excesses of mid-life crises. Stephen Lawless directs, and has translated the words into English especially for this performance, which has been met with some critical acclaim. A visual and oral feast then. But is it worth the money? If you can’t afford it, you can always catch a touring show in the autumn. AG

Havin’ a ball: but Glyndebourne comes at a price
Glyndebourne Festival
When? 5.15pm
How Much? £160
(t) 01273 812321
(w) Website