Ileana Cotrubas (Tytania) and James Bowman (Oberon) 1981
It is hard to believe that 35 years has passed since that Midsummer night in 1981 when Britten returned to Glyndebourne with the magical Peter Hall/John Bury production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. And all these years later this production is able to weave the same spell today as it did then - it does, believe me.....I am sure that all of us who were there in 1981 and saw it this year at Glyndebourne will be shedding many a tear of nostalgia - remembrance of wonderful things past. I was there last night for the final performance of the 2016 season and it came back to life as fresh and astonishing as ever.
It occurred forcefully to me yesterday evening that the designer, John Bury, is a comparatively unsung genius although he was an extraordinary contributor to our theatre life in the 20th century. His many years of work at Glyndebourne made him one of the family, and as the curtain went up on the second half yesterday evening one could only gasp at the extraordinary vision he created with his mastery of his craft. His partnership with Peter Hall was one of equals - two difficult headstrong men in perfect harmony in each of the ten remarkable productions they undertook together at Glyndebourne! And a tribute too to Liz, John's design partner and wife.
Quince (David Soar), Bottom (Matthew Rose) and Snug (Sion Goronwy) - 2016
There was unalloyed joy to be had from the performance of Bottom by Matthew Rose - an extraordinarily gifted artist who can sing the bel canto repertoire gloriously and then switch to perfect comedy - and so much else in between. He has become complete treasure......and I was delighted to see two alums of COT as leaders of the fairy troupe - Tim Mead as Oberon (Orlando Chicago 2008) and Kathleen Kim (Nixon in China 2006). And there was a miraculous performance of Puck by the tiny David Evans. He might grow into a future star as did one of this predecessors in the role - Dexter Fletcher who was with us in 1981 as Puck's understudy!
The last two performances were conducted by Jeremy Bines, Glyndebourne's hugely respected Chorus Master for the last seven years. Alas he is leaving to join the Deutsche Oper in Berlin - he will be hugely missed. He did a terrific job with the Dream having been in charge of the music preparation and stepped in to conduct seamlessly and impressively.
So Glyndebourne is over for another year - it will be back with its Autumn tour in just a few weeks - and 2017 is just around the corner......