An American tourist on a day trip to Sussex from London inadvertently finds himself at Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex where he learns to appreciate Opera.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lady Falconbridge
David Knight ...
1st Gentleman
2nd Gentleman
Sesto Bruscantini ...
Elena Rizzieri ...
Susanna - Maid to the Countess
Ian Wallace ...
Monica Sinclair ...
Frances Bible ...
Franco Calabrese ...
Hugues Cuénod ...
Don Basilo
Sena Jurinac ...
Gwyn Griffiths ...
Antonio - Gerdener to the Count
Jeannette Sinclair ...


An American tourist on a day trip to Sussex from London inadvertently finds himself at Glyndebourne Opera House in Sussex where he learns to appreciate Opera.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

opera | taxi | bus | picnic | festival | See All (11) »


Comedy | Drama | Musical | Short






Release Date:

February 1956 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was used by the prestigious Marsh Tours company in New York to 'educate' their tour conductors. See more »


Cornell: I'd made my first two,
Cornell: four English friends. I'd seen my first Opera and the next morning when I got up at dawn to see the Sussex downs the music still haunted me.
See more »


Le nozze di Figaro
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
See more »

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User Reviews

How the English upper classes dispose of the daughters
30 June 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This was a delightful short puff for Glyndebourne with a first rate cast of actors well known at the time, and singers well remembered today. An American (David Knight) arrives at Glyndebourne by accident. Lady Falconbridge (Marie Lohr) seizes the opportunity to marry off her great niece, Virginia (Josephine Griffin), and encourage US interest in the Festival, by getting John Christie (himself) to give him a free ticket (despite his not being properly attired) and inviting him to share her picnic - ham sandwiches and tea from a flask (how different from today's picnics!) The American is entranced by Figaro, of which long extracts from the 1955 Festival production are shown) and readily accepts Lady Falconbridge's ticket (which she has scrumpled up at the bottom of her handbag) for Don Giovanni (which she has already seen 34 times, as he can be Virginia's escort. It should have been The Bartered Bride! Two other operagoers were played by Alan Cuthbertson (stalwart of many war films) and Peter Jones (the Book in the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

The film opens with the American walking from Victoria Street into Victoria Station across a wide pavement now a two lane highway. Owing to an ASLEF strike there were no trains running, so the platform at Victoria Station had to be recreated at Pinewood Studios, and an excellent job they did. I had great difficulty working out whether the 6-PUL unit was for real as the fixtures and fittings were so exact. The giveaway was the lack of underbody equipment and the lack of buffers on the track. (It was a 6-PUL unit as the finger board at the barrier indicated Pullman accommodation). The scenes out of the train window appeared to be of Purley, and there was a good shot of the train in a wooded cutting. There were longer scenes at Lewes Station, including modern Southdown coaches waiting for the audience), followed by back projections through the rear window of the station taxi (surprisingly an ancient Rolls Royce) of the town and the road out to Glyndebourne. At one point the car seemed to be going the wrong way, but the B2192 and the turn into New Road were still recognisable, though some trees and a pillar box have gone. Judging by the washing outside the second house in New Road, the footage must have been taken on a Monday, and earlier than June given the thinness of the foliage on the trees. He drives into the front of the house, where the coaches are parked: the layout seems only marginally altered today. Footage around the house was difficult to recognise as modern audiences don't usually see it; likewise there was little actual footage of the old auditorium, except for the operatic scenes. However the gardens and lake were recognisable, and in particular the croquet lawn, then used by the orchestra in its off and interval moments. The most interesting operatic scenes were of Carl Ebert rehearsing Sena Jurinac (Countess) and Elena Rizzieri (Susanna) in the Letter Scene.

At the end of the film the American looks back on his experience while walking over the Downs. At one point we see a railway crossing a road, and at another a great scar in the chalk where they appear to be widening the A27. The final shots are from the Downs across to the house and old flytower, nestling among the trees.

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