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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 13:31 GMT
Opera debut for director Mendes
Sam Mendes
Mendes is said to be 'intrigued and fascinated' by Don Giovanni
Oscar-winning film-maker Sam Mendes is to direct his first operatic production at Glyndebourne in Sussex.

The former director of London's Donmar Warehouse theatre will debut with Mozart's Don Giovanni in 2010.

The opera house's director, David Pickard, said they have been trying to secure Mendes for the past five years.

The 42-year-old, who is married to actress Kate Winslet, won the best director Oscar in 2000 for his film American Beauty.

Musical theatre

Mr Pickard, who has attempted to update the elitist image of Glyndebourne in recent years, said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper that Mendes "has always wanted to direct opera and has always wanted to do it at Glyndebourne".

"For him it is the ideal way to embark on opera - other houses may not give him the care and attention that we would," he added.

Mr Pickard said of Mendes' prowess as a theatre director that "you can see that his use of music is integral to the atmosphere he is building".

Mendes has a background in musical theatre, having directed a hit production of Cabaret on Broadway which pre-empted his film debut with American Beauty.

His other big screen credits include Jarhead and The Road to Perdition, while his next film production will be an adaptation of George Eliot's Middlemarch, due for release in 2009.

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