One night at Glyndebourne: Part 1

It’s hard to know where to start in terms of telling you how much fun we had last night at Glyndebourne. I could tell you about sipping Prosecco on the picturesque lawn, surrounded by sheep and sculptures, watching some of the best dressed folk in England mosey on by; I could tell you about the delicious dinner we quaffed in the Nether Wallop restaurant, bursting with flavour and Great British tradition; I could tell you about the fabulously fashionable people we met and photographed (and I will do exactly that in Glyndebourne “part two”) and the bright and sexy dress (see above) I was lucky enough to wear by the amazing designer Hanna-Marie Hutchison of HMH Couture; or I could tell you about having my heart, soul and sense of humour utterly captured by the fantastic production of Le nozze di Figaro (complete with to-die-for 60s costumes), which you can watch online until Sunday September 2nd 2012.

As words have failed me, I’ll let the photos do the talking instead…

A short drive from Brighton, and just an hour on the train from London, The Glyndebourne opera house is set in the most stunning surroundings complete with lake, grand house and grazing land
Dotted around the beautifully managed grounds are bronze sculptures (available to buy if you have some serious spare cash in your bank account) 
Here’s Artemis and her dogs – already sold to one careful owner (sadly, not me – there isn’t room on the balcony)
Glyndebourne is so special – and romantic – it even has it’s own rose: The story goes that the founder of this truly unusual, and quintessentially British, opera house fell in love with an opera singer and built the theatre so she could perform there. Now that is true love
And talking of true love, here be mine, all dressed up (although the bow tie barely made it out of Clapham Junction) pouring a pre-performance Prosecco on the lawn
Cheers! After a wander around the grounds, which everyone seems to do, you can either hire picnic furniture or throw down a rug. I didn’t plan the whole red white and blue thang – it just happened
After a rather moist summer (to say the least) we finally got to use our brilliant Union Jack cool bag from the Old Bag Company
And I got to go uber-glam in the Erato red dress, thanks to HMH Couture – did I scrub up OK?
Checking out the sheep – and showing off the split
Part of the pleasure of Glyndebourne is that you get to dress-up to the MAX and then parade around on an English lawn: It is fashionable, fun and wonderfully eccentric, all at once
On to the main event: Taking our seats in the Glyndebourne opera house
We saw Mozart’s wonderful Le nozze di Figaro: The first opera ever to be performed at Glyndebourne, this production is set in the 60s – just check out the countess’ kaftan there. Gorgeous (image: Alastair Muir)
The count (played by Audun Iversen) steals the show if you ask me – and just look at that velvet suit (image: Alastair Muir)
The tradition at Glyndebourne is to have a 90 minute interval. And waiting for us at our table in the Nether Wallop dining room, an ice cold bottle of fizz. The long interval gives you chance to chew over the first two acts, as well as stuff your faces. You can bring your own picnic, order a picnic from Glyndebourne (and hire picnic furniture) for formal dining on the lawn, or dine in one of the restaurants, pre-ordering your food and drink
You know how I love a buffet, and Nether Wallop is a carvery style set-up
Sure-fire way to a Yorkshire girl’s heart? A pudding mountain
We had every intention of going down the salmon en croute route, until we saw the succulent roast beef and crispy Yorkshires – there’s a veggie option too, of course
This was exactly as delicious as it looks
How I ate all that (every scrap) and didn’t pop out of the dress is a modern miracle
The choices for afters were just as exciting: Matt plumped for a summer fruit pudding
Fresh fruit was in abundance (as was naughty but niceness)
I *had* to have pavlova – mmmmmm
Raising a glass just to show you my nails – tangerine, apart from the ring finger, which is dark orange with glitter – rad, man
Back into the show and acts 3 & 4 were just sublime – even Matt is now a convert to the opera (and can you spot the maxi I was lusting after?) (image: Alastair Muir)
Just one last look at my frock, then – the design is brilliant because you never feel exposed, even though it is virtually backless – and the signature HMH Couture jersey fabric is soooo comfortable
One wonderful evening = one happy lady in red: Bravo to Glyndebourne, my new annual ritual – see you in 2013!

 With huge thanks to Glyndebourne and HMH Couture

Written by Johanna Payton