When the 78th Glyndebourne Festival in the UK opened Saturday it became the first opera fete to be powered by wind. And no, the tenors and sopranos weren't the source. A 144-foot wind turbine is doing all the work.
Folks living in the area have seen the turbine in action since it was turned on in December. That month the turbine generated more than twice the electricity used in December the previous year. The turbine was officially christened in January, making the Glyndebourne the first UK arts institution to generate its own power from wind. The aim is for the turbine to contribute 90 percent of the power necessary to stage Glyndebourne's operas.
At the time, the ceremony was reportedly mostly met with cheers from the crowd. But the opposition -- protesters who fought the proposal throughout the planning process and six-day public hearing -- were present too. There beef was similar to protests over other onshore and offshore wind projects: it would ruin the view and tranquility of the typically pastoral setting.
The real test to see how people receive the turbine will be during the opera festival, which presents six productions through summer. Ticketholders don't just come for the opera, but the surrounding landscape East Sussex county. Part of the experience includes picnicking on the grounds and walking through the gardens there. In other words, the turbine will be part of the view.
Photo: Glyndebourne Youth Opera from Flickr user claire.shovelton, CC 2.0