TICKETS for this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, a vocal and visual feast of world-class opera, go on sale on March 4.

The festival, which runs each year from May to August, has a programme of six operas – some Glyndebourne classics while others are rare gems.

They are performed in a 1,200 seat state-of-the-art auditorium at the word-famous opera house, famous for the tradition of picnicking in its gardens.

This year, in a collaboration with Glyndebourne, renowned chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage is offering visitors innovative and ethically sourced picnics and a pop-up delicatessen.

Hugh says, “We are delighted to be collaborating with our friends at Glyndebourne and it’s been a real pleasure to develop our River Cottage summer menus for their guests. We are setting up a delicatessen as well as creating two fantastic seasonal picnic menus over the summer. The first of these embraces the best produce of May and June – this will be followed by a menu to reflect the bounty of July and August.”

The menu will include ham hock and hazelnut Chelsea buns, Sussex ricotta and spinach sausage rolls, potted smoked mackerel, English spelt salad packed with herbs and toasted seeds and puddings of lemon and elderflower posset and summer fruit brioche.

Glyndebourne’s executive chairman Gus Christie says, “We’re thrilled to be working with Hugh and the team at River Cottage. Not only will they deliver delicious picnics to our audiences, but they also share our belief in reducing environmental impact through their holistic approach to the way they source and deliver their produce.”

The Glyndebourne Festival, which began as a two-week season of The Marriage of Figaro and Così fan tutte, has been strongly associated with Mozart and also with Benjamin Britten after premièring The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring in the 1940s. Since then, it has presented works by a wide range of composers including Monteverdi, Handel, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Janáček, Strauss, Stravinsky, Verdi and Wagner, and has two resident orchestras: the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

When the festival ends, Glyndebourne also hosts the opening weeks of the tour, a less formal alternative to the Festival with lower ticket prices, between October 12 and November 3, before it visits venues across the UK. Next year, Glyndebourne has announced the tour will visit Liverpool’s Empire Theatre for the first time in its history.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 at Glyndebourne, Lewes, runs from May 19-August 26. Tickets priced £10-£260 go on sale at 6pm on Sunday March 4. Phone 01273 815000 or visit glyndebourne.com.

The Glyndebourne Festival 2018 programme:

MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Saturday-Wednesday May 19-July 18

May 19, 23, 26 and 31; June 6, 9, 14, 21 and 28; July 5, 12 and 18,  5.10pm
June 3, 17 and 24; July 1 and 8, 4.35pm

Tickets £20-£260

Puccini’s beloved opera makes its Glyndebourne Festival debut in Annilese Miskimmon’s thought-provoking production, which opens the 2018 season. By updating the original turn-of-the-century setting to the 1950s, the production confronts the darker political and emotional currents of a work that acknowledges that there are some barriers too great for even love to conquer. Taking on one of the greatest soprano roles in the repertoire is Olga Busuioc as Cio-Cio-San with Joshua Guerrero as Lieutenant BF Pinkerton and Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki. Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

DER ROSENKAVALIER

Sunday-Tuesday May 20-June 26

May 24 and 30; June 2, 8, 12, 16, 19, 22 and 26, 4.35pm

May 20 and 27, 3.20pm
Tickets £15-£260
Richard Jones’s elegantly colourful 2014 production of one of opera’s great romantic comedies returns with an exciting new cast that includes Kate Lindsey as Octavian, Brindley Sherratt as Baron Ochs and Erin Morley as Sophie. Glyndebourne’s music director Robin Ticciati conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

GIULIO CESARE

Sunday-Saturday June 10-July 28

June 15, 20, 23 and 29; July 6, 10, 13, 20, 24 and 28, 4.05pm

June 10 and July 15, 2.45pm

Tickets £15-£230

Bollywood meets baroque in David McVicar’s legendary production, a Glyndebourne classic first seen in 2005. This revival reunites many of the original team including conductor William Christie and Sarah Connolly who makes a triumphant return to the title role. Joining the cast are Joélle Harvey as Cleopatra and Anna Stéphany as Sesto.

LIVE BROADCAST OF MADAMA BUTTERFLY ON SCREEN

Thursday June  21

Broadcast live from Glyndebourne Festival 2018 on glyndebourne.com and in cinemas nationwide: Glyndebourne’s first ever production of Puccini’s beloved opera.

PELLEAS ET MELISANDE

Saturday-Thursday June 30-August 9

June 30; July 4, 7, 11, 21, 23 and 26; August 1, 4, 6 and 9, 5.05pm

July 29, 3.45pm
Tickets £15-£230

Glyndebourne’s first new production of Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in nearly twenty years will be directed by Stefan Herheim, one of Europe’s most exciting directors. Glyndebourne’s music director Robin Ticciati conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra and an international cast led by Christina Gansch as Mélisande, John Chest as Pelléas and Christopher Purves as Golaud.

SAUL

Thursday-Saturday July 19-August 25

July 19; August 3, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 23 and 25, 4.35pm

July 27 and 30, 5.20pm

July 22, 4pm

Tickets £15-£260

Main picture, above and below: Madama Butterfly by Puccini/pictures: Clive Barda

Above and below: Der Rosenkavalier/pictures: Bill Cooper

Above: Der Rosenkavalier/picture: Bill Cooper

Below: Giulio Cesare/picture: Mike Hoban

Above and below: Giulio Cesare/pictures: Mike Hoban

Above and pictures below: Saul/pictures: Bill Cooper

Barrie Kosky’s blazingly original and visually spectacular staging of Handel’s oratorio returns for a first revival since its acclaimed premiere at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival. Handel expert Laurence Cummings conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and an all-star cast that includes Markus Brück as Saul, Allan Clayton as Jonathan and Iestyn Davies as David.

SAUL ON SCREEN

From Thursday July 26
Broadcast on glyndebourne.com and in cinemas nationwide: Barrie Kosky’s blazingly original staging of Handel’s oratorio, filmed live at Glyndebourne Festival 2015.

VANESSA

Sunday-Sunday August 5-26
August 7, 10, 14, 17, 22 and 24, 5.10pm
August  5, 12, 19 and 26, 4.35pm
Tickets £10-£165
Seldom performed in the UK, this is a rare opportunity to see Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera, an operatic thriller from the age of Hitchcock that boasts one of the 20th century’s most beautiful scores. Olivier Award-winning director Keith Warner directs this new production, which promises to bring out the psychological tensions that sit just below the surface. Soprano Emma Bell takes the title role alongside Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol, Virginie Verrez as Erika and Doris Soffel as The Old Baroness. Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša leads the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

LIVE BROADCAST OF VANESSA ON SCREEN

Tuesday August 14

Broadcast live from Glyndebourne Festival 2018 on glyndebourne.com and in cinemas nationwide: Glyndebourne’s new production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera.

GLYNDEBOURNE TOUR 2018

Performances at Glyndebourne Friday-Saturday October 12-November 3, then touring until Saturday December 1

Tickets £10-£86.25 (prices dependent on venue)

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Massenet’s Cendrillon directed by Fiona Shaw forms the highlight of the latest Glyndebourne Tour, which celebrates 50 years in 2018. Also touring is a revival of Tom Cairns’s opulent production of La traviata and Behind the Curtain: La traviata, the return of a new style of event introduced by Glyndebourne in 2016, which gives audiences a glimpse under the surface of an opera.