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Opera goers, including the artist Maggi Hambling in her first public appearance since a major heart attack in New York only a few weeks ago, arrived at the weekend for the first full Glyndebourne Festival, UK, since 2019 in the wake of the pandemic. The opera buffs encountered a large black and gold painting by Hambling, The Night of the Lotus Eaters, on display for the first time, daringly hung under the portico but in the open air with the artist’s blessing (“Why so much gold?” curator Nerissa Taysom asked. “Probably ran out of black paint,” Hambling quipped). The painting adorns the 70th anniversary cover of Glyndebourne’s famous season programmes, celebrated in an exhibition in the gallery under the stalls which includes the 2016 cover by Raqib Shaw depicting some picnic-ing fairies having a very fine time. Taysom discovered a historical gem in the archives. In 2016—several of the collectible expensive programmes—£20 this year—were returned to the box office in outrage, with the fairies ripped out.

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