Monday, 20 June 2011

Glynebourne Opera - English Opulance

This week I've taken a week out from work to live like a mad fool, going to the Opera at Glynebourne, tickets to the Royal Ballet and St Johns College's 500th anniversary May Ball. Most of these are excuses for ridiculously over the top dress and ridiculously beautiful English surrounding.

Glynebourne Opera, for those not in the know (I admit, until last year, I was one of these people) is a Summer series of operas set out in a purpose built auditorium in the English Countryside, attached to a large manor house.

The dress code is Black Tie and guests are encouraged by tradition to bring picnics. These vary from the small, such as our Scones with Jersey Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam.

To rather more elaborate setups, with the finest china and three course meals produced from the bags that have been brought along.

During the hour and a half intermission, you can also order a three-course meal at the 'Upper Wallop' restaurant (there is also a Middle and Lower Wallop, with different menus)

This is a very impressive spectacle, with all orders placed beforehand from a set menu and everyone being served with almost military precision. Of the probably 400 diners in that room, every single one of them was up and ready to be at their seat by the first bell.

The food wasn't bad either; Starters included a Chorizo Packet on Leeks with a spring Mimosa or Lobster Bisque
Mains were traditional English fare, I had the salt-beef, which evoked all the best memories I have for this dish, without trying anything too new. The beef, while looking hard and jerky-like actually fell apart the second I got to it, brilliant
There was also a far larger choice of Roast Lamb, which met with rather more varied assessments, mainly there was too much of it and the lamb wasn't the best, although still a pleasant dish

Finally, the dessert of Almond Macaron. Firstly it seems quite tautological to call something an almond Macaron and secondly,if you're going to call something an Almond Macaron, it may be worthwhile making it taste of almond or be a macaron. This was more meringue filled with whipped cream. There were also slight complaints that the apricots were deceptively non-alcoholic

However, it's about the experience in the end, and for a fantastic setting (even if it was tipping it down), brilliant opera, an excuse for a picnic and some tasty if not spectacular food, going to Glynebourne is something I'd recommend everyone try at least once.

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