I found this short story in The Week, 25 April 2009, which I know will really cheer my mother .. and found the pictures on the BBC Hereford and Worcester site - and credit both sites for their articles.
The Week's article summarises this wonderful story: Jon Richards, 63, embarked on his "labour of love" after his wife Muriel began to find their local Anglican church too crowded for serious contemplation. Although they remain active members of that congregation, they now also hold services in their 12 foot x 8 foot chapel. Built from brick, it has Gothic windows, salvaged from a scrap yard, and is furnished with original church pews and a tapestry of the Last Supper.
The BBC Hereford and Worcester article notes that Mr Richards came up with the idea as Easter services have been held on a nearby hill and they liked to think that 'this is a spiritual hill, and for many years we've had crosses erected on the hill at Easter time, and we have an Easter service' ...
Glyndebourne, on the other hand, is a 700 year old country house and opera house near where we live in Sussex and my brother has taken my mother and I a few times to the opera .. it is an amazing place .. the interior has just a glow about it .. and the acoustics are fantastic.
John Christie, the owner, came into full legal possession of the estate from his grandfather in 1920. Mr Christie's fondness for music led him to hold regular amateur opera evenings in the newly built magnificent organ room (80 feet long), which he commissioned and which almost doubled the south facade of the house.
It was at one of these opera evenings that he met his future wife, the Sussex-born Canadian soprano Audrey Mildmay. During their honeymoon attending the Salzburg and Bayreuth festivals, the Christies developed the idea of bringing professional opera to Glyndebourne with the focus being on smaller-scale productions of opera by Mozart which would be well suited to the intimate scale of the planned theatre.
As an annex to the organ room, the Christies built a fully-equipped and up-to-date theatre with a 300-seat auditorium and an orchestra pit capable of holding a symphony orchestra. The theatre has constantly been enlarged and improved .. in 1936 it had 433 seats, in 1952 it held nearly 600, and finally in 1977 it held 850.
By the late 1980s the theatre's expansion, which had proceeded in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, included an agglomeration of outbuildings which housed restaurants, dressing rooms storage and other facilities.
In 1992 this amazing new 1200 seat theatre was built with the inaugural performance given 60 years to the day (24 May 1994) after the old theatre's first performance, and was once again Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro: The Marriage of Figaro.
Glyndebourne was a labour of love back in 1931, realised in 1934 ... which continues to this day - the south Sussex Downland is an unlikely setting for an internationally renowned Opera House which continues to impress, attract and offer the most wonderful productions, with opera lovers coming from far wide ... to picnic in the warm summer sunshine on the lawns in front of the grand house before the performances ... champagne, strawberries abounding .. a real English setting.
Thank you Mr Postman .. my mother will definitely love these stories .. as she lived during the Glyndebourne period and she is very religious .. we will have so much to talk about ... do you know of any other labours of love?