July 2014: A Night At The Opera

Dale Vargas reports:

Krystyna and I were at Glyndebourne last evening and took the opportunity of investigating the remains of the Eton Fives courts there (I believe there were two and the dimensions of the space would support that).

The usher was able to show us the remains (half a front wall with upper ledge and some flagstone flooring) and to give us some detail. John Christie, the owner of Glyndebourne Manor, had been an Eton master and when he started to put on operas at his house, he asked his former colleague, the precentor (Director of Music) at Eton – I think he was called Lloyd - to be the musical director. Lloyd agreed, on condition that Christie provided him with an organ, which Christie proceeded to do. He knocked down the Fives courts and replaced them with an organ room. Sadly Lloyd died in 1919 before the work was completed. The organ is no longer working; much of the piping has been used for organs in other places such as the Brighton Dome. The room is used for opera goers to ‘sit out’ and for latecomers to watch the performance on a screen until an appropriate moment for them to enter the auditorium!