Entertainment & Arts

Former Glyndebourne chief Sir George Christie dies

Sir George Christie Image copyright David Fernandes
Image caption Sir George succeeded his father to become Glyndebourne chairman in 1958

Sir George Christie, the former chairman of Glyndebourne opera house and festival, has died aged 80.

His son and current chairman Gus Christie said: "My father passed away peacefully this morning after a hard fought illness."

He added his father would remembered "as a visionary leader and a great champion of the arts".

Born in 1934, Sir George was the son of Glyndebourne founders John Christie and Audrey Mildmay.

He succeeded his father to become chairman in 1958 when he was just 23 and held the position until 1999, when he was succeeded by his son.

Image copyright David Fernandes
Image caption Gus Christie took over from Sir George in 2000

Gus Christie said: "His achievements were immense and his friendship cherished by many, not least by those lucky enough to have worked with him directly.

"As a family we listened to the first act of Der Rosenkavalier from the 1965 Glyndebourne recording last night with him. He has been Glyndebourne's guiding spirit throughout its history and we will dedicate this Festival to him."

During his tenure, Sir George launched Glyndebourne's touring arm and, in 1986, its education programme.

The present opera house was opened in 1994, at a cost of £34m, with a production of The Marriage of Figaro.

Sir George was knighted in 1984 for services to music and was subsequently made a Companion of Honour in 2001.

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