The Glyndebourne Opera Festival
In 1934, a group of local opera enthusiasts established an opera company based in the hamlet of Glyndebourne, which is 2.5km (1 1/2 miles) east of Lewes and 8km (5 miles) northwest of Alfriston. See listings under either of these towns for a selection of places to overnight if you'd like to stay in the area after the performances and not take the train back to London. The festival has been running ever since and is now one of the best regional opera companies in Britain.
In 1994, the original auditorium was demolished, and a dramatic modern glass, brick, and steel structure, designed by noted English architect Michael Hopkins, was built adjacent to some remaining (mostly ornamental) vestiges of the original building. The new auditorium is known for its acoustics.
Operas are presented only between mid-May and late August, and productions tend to be of unusual works. For information, contact the Glyndebourne Festival, P.O. Box 2624, Glyndebourne (Lewes), East Sussex BN8 5UW (tel. 01273/815000; www.glyndebourne.com). You can call the box office at tel. 01273/813813. Tickets range from £10 to £150. You can usually get last-minute tickets because of cancellations by season-ticket holders. But if you want to see a specific show, it's a good idea to buy a ticket several months in advance. Credit card orders (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted, and for an additional postage charge, you can have tickets delivered to you. Dress is formal: Many Londoners show up in black tie, which is requested but not required.
To get to the theater from Lewes, take the A26 to the B2192, following the signs to Glynde and Glyndebourne. From Alfriston, follow the hamlet's main street north of town in the direction of the A27, then turn left following signs first to Glynde, and then to Glyndebourne. There are also trains from London that are specially scheduled to deliver operagoers to Glyndebourne, and then take them home after the picnic and the performances.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.