Video: This Is How They Did Summer Parks Concerts in 1961

Sunday, July 20, 2014 - 08:00 PM

Glyndebourne Festival in 1961: When gowns and tuxedos counted as picnic attire Glyndebourne Festival in 1961: When gowns and tuxedos counted as picnic attire (British Pathe)

The New York Philharmonic parks concerts recently brought free performances of Strauss and Tchaikovsky to New York City, as well as some familiar delights and frustrations to concertgoers. There were massive picnics and loud cellphone talkers, dazzling fireworks and uncouth blanket hogs, erratic weather conditions and cavorting children. Some took to Twitter and the WQXR.org comments to sound off on the experience; one even shot a video of chattering picnickers. A New York Times critic groaned that Smetana's harps were drowned out by audience commotion.

With that in mind, this 1961 news report on the Glyndebourne Festival in Sussex, England presents a rather dramatic contrast. Women arrive in evening gowns and pearls; men don tuxedos as they consume country picnics (with champagne) and play croquet. The oh-so-civilized video is part of the British Pathé newsreel archive, which was recently uploaded to YouTube. This year's Glyndebourne Festival runs through Aug. 24.

Updated 7/20 at 5 pm.

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Comments [5]

Dee from Baychester

shootings,stabbings,and fistfights have no place at any concert of any genre regardless of how anyone is dressed.

Aug. 06 2014 11:30 AM
TWS from NWNJ

Hear, hear! Would that it could be so, at least on some occasions.

Jul. 23 2014 02:36 PM
Barry Owen Furrer

After viewing the clip, perhaps the opera should be changed to "The Barber of Civility."

Jul. 21 2014 05:57 PM
kayk from Morristown, NJ

"We (the orchestra) take a great deal of trouble. The public must do the same." Bravo!

Jul. 21 2014 11:19 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

This serves as a good follow-up to Fred Plotkin's blog about the decline of civility at MET performances.As classical music disappears from the public schools,the general population has no inkling of what classical music requires of an audience.People then have no idea that the boorish behavior at a performance by the likes of Jay-Z,Chris Brown,or Drake,where shootings,stabbings,and fistfights are commonplace has no place at an NY Phil parks concert.While it would be unreasonable to expect a Central Park audience to attend in formal attire and listen with the reverential silence of Bayreuth at the conclusion of Act I of "Parsifal",better behavior would be a welcome change.

Jul. 21 2014 02:19 AM

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