A Carluccio’s Picnic at Glyndebourne:
A not-so-secret passion, I love Opera. Last year, for the first time ever, I went to Glyndebourne.
It IS something special, an impressive opera house in the grounds of a stately home in Sussex built for love. The story is that John Christie, the owner of the Estate used to run small amateur productions in his music room. He met his wife, a professional singer and together they established the first opera house at Glydebourne. The original house was smaller, with just 300 seats, but demand was such that a new house was built in 1987, with seating for 1,200 Not only is the music superb, but the setting is beautiful and the productions are all scheduled to allow people to enjoy the gardens and picnic in the English sunshine.
And therein is a small issue. Last year I was lucky and we went on a beautifully sunny evening. This year, my luck ran out and the skies were grey. Of course, with true British bravado, people were sitting outside eating their picnics and drinking champagne, but we were concerned that our food would be ruined if it rained during the performance so headed to the covered marquee where there are tables set up to accommodate visitors in the case of bad weather.
Our picnic was provided by Carluccio’s – it seems only right and proper to eat Italian food at an Opera. One which just happens to be about Rome at that. And, what a feast we had. All supplied in neat coolbags, complete with cutlery, plates and napkins. I liked the fact that the coolbags were quite light and if you wanted to walk with one, it wouldn’t have been too tricky.
There was a great assortment of salads and charcuterie, A vegetable frittata to cater for the Peskytarian Hedonist, Lemon chicken for me And some wonderful foccaccia
All washed down with a bottle of Nyetimber sparkling wine.
We went out into the gardens to take a few photos and The Hedonist did a good job of making it look as if it might be sunny…
Then, off to watch the opera.
Neither of us had seen The Rape of Lucretia before and we did expect a dark story. So far I’ve loved seeing Britten at Glyndebourne though, last year’s Billy Budd was superb. It somehow fits the modern opera house better than the productions I’ve seen at ENO and the Royal Opera House. This production was musically beautiful and visually striking, though the quasi religious ending seemed bizarre and perhaps explains why this opera is seldom performed. It was a moving production though the libretto was at times turgid and at times, at least for me, just a little hard to comprehend.
I hope I’ll get the chance to go again next year, perhaps to see something other than Britten.
With many thanks to Carluccio’s for providing us with a picnic. This year a three course picnic for two will set you back £45. To place an order, all you need to do is to select the branch of Carluccio’s where you want to pick up your picnic and order online.