Glyndebourne: The Untold History

Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Robin Bextor
Actors: Mark Everist

Glyndebourne is a beautiful country

house in the Sussex Downs

where I live with my wife,

the opera singer Danielle de Niese.

What makes this place unique

is that we also have a world-class

opera house and everything that goes

with it in the gardens.

It was founded by a passionate man -

my grandfather, John Christie

and his equally passionate wife,

the opera singer Audrey Mildmay.

He started the Glyndebourne

tradition with a love story

and it continues as one.

The most unique thing about

Glyndebourne is the idea that

you have all the creative teams

actually living in the house.

It really creates this hive

of information and people, when

they live in close proximity,

you tend to bump into

each other, idea-wise.

It's always been that way,

ever since we started.

There have been strange people

living in this house

ever since I can remember.

Conductors, designers, directors,

assistants, repetiteurs

and not singers.

Except me! Except Danni, of course!

Oh, there's Mr John Christie.

I'm very glad to welcome you.

He was an extraordinary man

in many ways.

I mean, he was a captain

in the First World War

and even though he'd he lost an eye

playing rackets at school,

when he went for his medical,

the doctor asked him

to cover an eye, which he duly did

to read out the letters,

he then read out the letters

and the doctor said,

"And now for the other eye, please."

As he simply went like that...

Fooled the doctor

and got through.

He earned a Military Cross

for his courage and bravery.

He would boost the troops' morale

by reading poetry to them

in the trenches.

During ceasefires, they would shoot

partridges behind the line.

He would get sauces flown out

from Fortnum and Mason's and they

would have slap-up meals in the

trenches while they were waiting.

So I think he was a bon viveur,

but he was an inspiration to

many around him.

He was passionate about music

and he was also

mad about everything German,

from the clothes to the wine, and

he would go round in his lederhosen.

He felt that England did not have

the same culture

that Germany offered.

He loved cars and he had this

wonderful old two-seater,

open-topped sports car.

As a very young man,

he would make trips to

the Wagner festival in Germany

at a time that there were no

car ferries going across the Channel

and he hired a barge

and a raft on which he'd put his car

to tow him across the Channel,

which took him quite a long time,

I think.

Across Europe to get to Bayreuth

to go and see Wagner,

which he lapped up

and was very inspired by.

Well, after the war,

he went back to Eton as a master

and then he inherited

the estate at Glyndebourne,

so at that point he gave up

his schoolmastering career

and he focuses attentions

completely on Glyndebourne.

One of the first things that he did

was knock down a court and an old


and started building this beautiful,

long room and it was

for his friend

Dr Charles Harford Lloyd,

who had been the organist at Eton

and was retiring

and John said to him,

"You must move to Sussex,"

and of course Dr Lloyd replied,

"Well, there are no good organs

for me to play,"

and John said,

"Fine, I'll build you one."

So he had this extraordinary

room built,

which was also to satisfy his own

musical interests,

and he would put on scenes

from operas

and concerts in the organ room,

invite his friends...

He would act and star

in some of them

along with some of his friends,

along with some professionals.

And this is how

he met my grandmother,

who came down to sing the role

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this is the first script i writed. Sorry if my english is bad more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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