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Summer arts: An operatic journey

My colonial childhood brought opera to life

By Richard E Grant   July 2012

Janácek’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen, left, is part of Glyndebourne’s 2012 season

In the “Best of British” tradition, the Glyndebourne opera festival began as an amateur undertaking, with a “for the love of music” attitude that has informed its ethos ever since. The festival’s origins go back to 1920, when John Christie inherited the Manor House at Glyndebourne, where he had built an 80-foot-long organ room to accommodate his great friend Dr Lloyd, a former Eton organist, whenever he visited Sussex. This purpose-built gallery quickly became home to amateur opera productions.

Until the age of 48 John Christie was…

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