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Indy Lifestyle Online
A situation so terrible I hardly dare voice it here, has arisen at Glyndebourne, the newly revamped Sussex opera house. For the first time in 50 years tickets are not like gold dust, causing the company diehards seriously to consider ending their preferential ticket subscriptions. The consequences could be grave. Word has already spread round the burghers of Sussex, who are inevitably celebrating this new ad hoc facility on their doorstep. Phone lines are busy daily with callers for performances that night. Weekdays tend to be less heavily booked than weekends, although there is a fear that even those will become easily accessible after the disastrous opening of Don Giovanni last weekend - when the singers were actually booed. Glyndebourne administration is sensibly playing things coolly. 'Certain operas on certain nights are more popular than others,' said a spokeswoman yesterday. 'I could not say that we are sold out for the season, but I would say that most of our spare tickets are returns.' None the less, insiders grumble that the company is not helping itself by supplanting the traditional production with high-profile gimmicks. Whispers that director Peter Sellars, whose flamboyant Magic Flute was slated three years ago, is being asked to return next season to produce an obscure Handel opera, do little to placate them.

Members of Surrey cricket club are nonplussed by the recent appearance of new billboards at their Oval ground, advertising Acid Jazz. 'What on earth is that?' spluttered one man in the tea interval recently. Let me explain: rising star Adam Hollioake, who achieved notoriety by bowling Brian Lara in the game against Warwickshire a month ago, has just been sponsored by Acid Jazz - a record company. Hollioake is apparently partial to the variety of music it specialises in. However, fellow members will be relieved to know he has no plans, according to a club spokesman, to subject them to a sample over the club's Tannoy system.

Bravely varnishing her school's tarnished image is head girl Harriet Bulwer-Long, whose sensible features smile out of this week's Country Life, doing a quite sensational PR job for that scandal-ridden institution, St Mary's School, Wantage. Miss Bulwer-Long is simply sublime: according to the text she studies English, politics and theatre studies and hopes to teach young children. She is the third of four daughters of Captain and Mrs Bulwer-Long; she is a team player - representing St Mary's at lacrosse and tennis. And as for her part in the school's recent riots? Gasps of horror can be heard.' Oh no. . .that was a completely different year.'

As former Lib-Dem campaigner Des Wilson prepares to join BAA as director of corporate and public affairs, he has been reminiscing over tougher times - as publicist for the RSC. He recalled at a dinner recently how an actor playing Pistol in a production of Henry V was furious at being excluded from a photocall. 'He finally, having absolutely demolished me, walked out, slamming the door so loudly that the window cracked from top to bottom,' Wilson told his audience. 'There came a knock at the door. . .it slowly opened and there was his head. He said: 'I don't

want you to think that I'm personally upset. I'm just defending the integrity of the character of Pistol'.'

One who appears to be greatly suffering from the heat this week is conductor Andrew Davis, scheduled to open this year's 100th season of the Proms tonight. Unsurprisingly, therefore, he has spent Monday and Wednesday evenings in rehearsal since the intended party piece is the fiendishly complex Gurrelieder by Schoenberg - a massive work which the 380-strong choir

expected would keep them working all night, both nights. Not a bit of it. After a first

run-through, Davis closed his book, packed his baton and, fanning himself, sent everybody home. 'Ah well,' sighed one chorister on the second

occasion, 'I suppose there's so much noise in the piece you wouldn't hear a mistake anyway.

(Photograph omitted)

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