Review – Hänsel und Gretel, Glyndebourne

Hansel und Gretel, Glyndebourne
Given it seems impossible to get tickets as a normal person, I once thought it might be a jolly idea to join Glyndebourne. “Think again, sunshine” came the clear response: there’s a £500 fee to go on the decade-long waiting list, a £75 annual fee to stay on the waiting list, a £155 annual fee once you get to the top of the list – and that’s just to get you to the point where you’re allowed to spend £200 on a ticket. It even costs £20 just to join the mailing list.

Glyndebourne, it seems, is for the seriously wealthy and the seriously patient.

Thankfully there are a couple of performances a year when the garden gates are thrown open to those who don’t own yachts, in which best available seats are sold for £30 to those under 30 – still not exactly cheap, but once you’ve been there: a bargain.

Champagne, black tie and evening dresses, an extravagant picnic, beautiful gardens in late summer sun: Glyndebourne is just glorious.

And that’s before you even go inside the lovely (I mean stunning) little opera house, constructed from pale wood and light and air and unobstructed sight lines.

And that’s before you even see Laurent Pelly’s thrilling production of Hänsel und Gretel, revived from the 2008 season complete with its exceptionally inventive design of folding cardboard favellas and supermarket sweep gingerbread houses.

And that’s before you realise it’s only an hour back to London.

If you’re young enough to take advantage of the under 30s offer then go at once; if you’re not, start plugging away at those EuroMillions; Glyndebourne is a must do.

PS You could also do worse than going to a semi-staged performance of H&G at the Royal Albert Hall tonight. Tickets available and you’ll get change from a thousand pounds.