Combine Glyndebourne's unique Opera Festival with superb visits
Choose from Verdi's La Traviata, Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito or Donizetti's Don Pasquale
Wonderful choice of iconic houses & gardens including Firle & Nymans
See the restoration of Gravetye Manor Gardens, including lunch in its Michelin starred restaurant
Very comfortable hotel in lovely Sussex countryside
Glyndebourne is synonymous with all that represents excellence in the musical traditions of Great Britain. Year after year, this remarkable festival presents six operas during the summer months. Its reputation is undoubted and it continues both to enthrall and to challenge in equal measure. Thus, it is with great pleasure that we offer members of our own list the opportunity to enjoy this unique Festival and two, or three, of the following operas - La Traviata, La Clemenza di Tito and Don Pasquale.
Limited to a maximum of 19 participants on the tour, individuals will be able to select two or three operas, to include a seated interval dinner, with wine, each evening. Our seats will be within the Stalls, Foyer Circle and Circle areas, offering excellent sight of the stage. A series of gently paced morning visits to some of the most important houses and gardens in Sussex and Kent will support the operas - the ideal combination of art and nature.
Verdi's La Traviata needs no introduction and the highly regarded 2014 staging, designed by Hildegard Bechtler, is sure to be popular. Mozart is the composer most associated with Glyndebourne and La Clemenza di Tito will be presented in a new production directed by prominent German director, Claus Guth with the remarkable Alice Coote singing the vindictive Vitellia, conducted by Robin Ticciati. The 2011 staging of Donizetti's Don Pasquale, a comedy of cruel, young lovers outwitting a gullible old man, will be revived and conducted by rising star, Giacomo Sagripanti.
Supporting the opera programme, participants will be able to choose from a range of visits to some splendid houses and gardens. Amongst those to be included are Firle Place, the wonderful home of the Gage family with its renowned art collection where we shall have a 'connoisseur' introduction to its fabled pictures and Sèvres china; Gravetye Manor, gardener William Robinson's famous house and garden, where we shall also lunch in its Michelin starred restaurant; and a series of fine private gardens whose owners have agreed to open for us.
For this gently paced visit, we shall stay at the 5* Alexander House Hotel, a few miles from Turners Hill in Sussex and under an hour by coach from Glyndebourne. It is ideally located in lovely countryside and the hotel facilities include several restaurant options, a spa and swimming pool.
Day by day
- Day 1: Monday 7 August
- Participants should arrive at our hotel, the 5* Alexander House, which is set in rolling Sussex countryside, midway between Turners Hill and East Grinstead, from 3.00 pm onwards. Later that evening we have our first group dinner in the hotel. Wine, water & coffee are included with all group lunches and dinners.
- Day 2: Tuesday 8 August
- We leave the hotel by coach and our first visit will be to Nymans in the Sussex High Weald, one of the National Trust’s finest gardens. Originally a country retreat bought by Ludwig Messel in the late 1880s, it was developed by three generations of the talented Messel family. With tranquil ancient woodland and wonderful views, it holds a fascinating collection of beautiful and rare plants from all over the world and we hope to find the borders at their vibrant and colourful best. Our garden tour will include an introduction to the story of the creative Messel family which includes Lord Snowdon’s mother, Anne, Countess of Rosse and her brother the Theatrical Designer Oliver Messel. After lunch (not included) we will return to the hotel for a short rest.
- Mid afternoon we travel to Glyndebourne for a performance of La Clemenza di Tito. You will have time to wander in the gardens before the performance and we shall have a group dinner during the long interval.
- Day 3: Wednesday 9 August
- This morning, close to our hotel, we travel the short distance by coach to visit privately Gravetye Manor. This was the home of the most important force in English gardening in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that irascible Irishman, William Robinson. The house, now a Relais & Chateau hotel, is a fine example of an historic seventeenth century manor house, enlarged for Robinson in the best Arts and Crafts tradition. However, it is the garden that takes one’s breath away. Having suffered alternate bouts of love and neglect, it is once again in peak condition and we shall enjoy a guided tour, escorted by Gravetye’s impressive Head Gardener, Tom Coward. We have lunch in the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant.
- We return to our hotel for a short rest and mid afternoon we travel to Glyndebourne, this time to see Don Pasquale and we shall have a group dinner during the long interval.
- Day 4: Thursday 10 August
- We leave our hotel by coach and drive to Firle Place, the home of the Gage family and the seat of the present Viscount Gage. Led by Art Historian, Deborah Gage, a member of the Gage family and the collection’s Curator, we shall have a private ‘connoisseurs’ tour which will introduce this fine mansion, late medieval in origin but much changed in subsequent centuries. It contains a remarkable art collection with wonderful paintings and decorative arts with a magical collection of Sèvres china. We have coffee on arrival and a simple lunch before we return to our hotel.
- Mid afternoon we travel to Glyndebourne for a performance of La Traviata. We shall have a group dinner during the long interval.
- Day 5: Friday 11 August
- After a leisurely breakfast the group disperses.
- Price: £2,335 per person
- Deposit: £425
- Single Supplement: £325 (Double Room for Sole Use)
£195 (Single Room)
- Tour Manager: Tom Duncan
4 Nights with Breakfast at 5* Alexander House Hotel, Turners Hill
2 Top Tier Opera Tickets, 2 Dinners at Glyndebourne, 2 Dinners at Alexander House Hotel & 2 Lunches with wine, water & coffee, all local transfers, entry fees & gratuities, services of Tom Duncan
Travel to/from Turners Hill, 1 Lunch, transfers to and from, and a ticket for a third opera
Weather Conditions for Sussex in August are:
Average Temperature between: 13oC - 21oC / 55oF - 70oF
Rainfall: 59mm / 2.3 inches
We do expect a reasonable level of fitness. For full details see our frequently asked questions.