gardens + opera + pastures

June 17, 2010

It’s important for me, workwise, to view how people move around in, and use, outside space. So that’s my excuse for going to Glyndebourne every summer – of course, I like opera too and I’m nearby!

The double borders here are planted in a dramatic fashion as befitting of a centre where soaring high notes, deep powerful low notes, tragedy, tinkling Mozart, trills, thunderous applause and ‘Bravo!!’ are the most natural sounds . . . it’s lovely to wander below the rehearsal  and dressing rooms and listen before the performance starts  . . .

. . the natural lay of the land is still part of this landscape that fills up with visitors in the late afternoon . .

. . tables and chairs get set up for picnics and also just for relaxing, enjoying the countryside, looking at the frocks while  ‘bubbles’ are sipped – it’s all quite British in our apologetic way – and somewhat as theatrical as the events on stage . . .

. . Irish yews and a good anchusa, probably ‘Lodden Royalist’ . .

. . some visitors bring loads of clobber with them . . some bring a butler or two . .

. . the well clipped hedges, mostly yew, offer snapshots of beyond at various intervals. The planting is eclectic, some traditional and some more natural so, at this time of year, the orchard and wild flower carpet looks stunning . . .

. . good to see someones made an effort with a feathery hat . . .

. . always think it’s easier for the men – black jacket or white jacket . .

. . a patriotic chair . . and a glimpse of the magnificent hedges . . .

. . the lawns are important as this is a summer festival so sitting on the grass is integral to the enjoyment . . the tree planting to provide some shade and also direct the view was well  planned . . there’s a garden party feel . .  all quite free in a well-heeled environment. The monumental sculptures are by Nic Fiddian – Green. They successfully make a presence in empty space as well as when the space is populated . .

. . the original manor house and the extension by Hopkins Architects . . .

. . the pasture beyond the ha-ha is normally full of sheep and some bits of fluff were evidence of the norm, but yesterday just a few rabbits and kestrals overhead. This blog is ‘sheeped out’ to date so good to see these in the field near by  . .

. . but back to the performance, Britten’s Billy Bud, set completely inside a ship, on the main and quarter deck and in the captain’s cabin. So, no landscapes in this opera however, it was truly magnificent, especially the second half.  Decided not to use anything from the opera in this post but instead chose this  link  – a piece of Arvo Part, ‘Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Brittain’ –  as to me, Part takes a journey with his music hovering just above the land or ground that mere mortals inhabit. The last image comes quite close to my visual feeling about opera and music – layers but interwoven, well-balanced, with a sense of beauty and thoroughly intriguing.

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