‘Switch off the TV and be open to new experiences’, says opera chief

‘Switching on the TV after work is the worst thing – I want people to give opera a try’ says the new general director of the Glyndebourne opera festival.

Glyndebourne opera house

Sebastian Scharz, the new general director of the famous opera festival, used the 2017 season announcement to ask audiences to turn off their televisions and take a chance on opera instead.

“It’s the worst thing anyone can do - switching on the TV after work. It’s good to watch specific programmes, but just switching it on thinking ‘let’s see how this will calm me down’ is usually a colossal waste of time.”

“I just want people to give it a try – and to be open to new experiences in opera, and in life,” he said.

Opera, he said tells us something new, something exciting – it brings us to tears and exposes us to emotions that we wouldn't otherwise experience.”

But if it's light relief you're looking for, Schwarz suggested Donizetti's Don Pasquale or The Elixir of Love might hit the spot. 

Glyndebourne's 2017 season opens with UK’s first production of Hipermestra, a rarely seen opera by Baroque composer Francesco Cavalli. The festival also includes the world premiere of a new opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet from Australian composer Brett Dean, alongside favourite productions of Verdi's La traviata, Don Pasquale, and Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.