Glyndebourne apology

By Marcus Dysch, September 22, 2011

The executive chairman of the Glyndebourne festival has apologised for the production of a children's opera based on the writings of a pro-Palestinian activist.

Gus Christie said he could "understand and sympathise" with concerns raised over When I Am Old, written using the recollections of Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003.

Performed three times last month by members of the Glyndebourne Youth Opera, it featured children acting as IDF soldiers, jostling audience members and forcing "Palestinians" from their homes. Glyndebourne fan Ian Harris said the performance had been "disgusting" and a "totally one-sided piece of anti-Israel propaganda".

Mr Christie said the festival had wanted to look at human rights and "young people's courage and idealism to uphold these". Organisers had been careful, he said, to provide a "balanced overview" of the Middle East conflict.

Glyndebourne had hired secondary school teacher Amy Doust to help as an adviser on the project. Ms Doust previously managed an education programme in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where she worked with the UN Relief and Works Agency and NGOs.

Last updated: 2:06pm, September 22 2011