Opera company Glyndebourne has cancelled its 2020 summer season, as it launches an emergency fundraising appeal to secure its long-term future.
The company said it had made the decision “with a very heavy heart” to cancel the summer season, which had been due to begin on July 14, and warned the loss of the event would be “devastating” for its seasonal staff and artists.
It added: “We have launched the Glyndebourne Emergency COVID-19 Appeal to help our artists and seasonal staff - two thirds of our workforce - who face a devastating loss of income from this closure, and to help ensure Glyndebourne’s continuity so we can be here for everyone in the future.”
The company has also launched a virtual festival, Glyndebourne Open House, which begins on May 24.
“We will be bringing the Glyndebourne Festival experience direct to people’s homes by streaming a full-length opera, for free, on Glyndebourne’s YouTube channel at 5pm every Sunday, and helping the public to recreate an afternoon at the festival in their own homes,” it said.
Glyndebourne Open House begins with Michael Grandage’s production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Encouraging viewers to “step away from their day-to-day lockdown lives, dig into their wardrobes and dust off their best outfit”, it added: “Whether in gardens, on balconies, front steps or in living rooms, we are looking forward to seeing pictures of people recreating the Glyndebourne Festival for themselves at home”.
Glyndebourne’s artistic director Stephen Langridge said: “We remain determined to share world-class opera with the public this summer; so, while the pandemic has forced us to abandon our beautiful theatre for now, I am delighted to be able to announce Glyndebourne Open House, beaming great music and theatre direct to people’s homes.
"For Glyndebourne itself, however, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will be devastating. As a privately funded charity that receives no public subsidy for the festival, we are reliant on box-office income. For our artists and seasonal staff, this means the loss of their livelihoods. Your donations will help us to support them and ensure Glyndebourne’s future for everyone.”