Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 18:27 UK

Mendes cancels Glyndebourne debut

Sam Mendes
Mendes was previously director of the Donmar Warehouse in London

Film and theatre director Sam Mendes has pulled out of making his opera debut at Glyndebourne in 2010.

Mendes was due to direct Mozart's Don Giovanni for the festival and his appointment was greeted with excitement in the opera world.

The director said his decision had nothing to do with the production or cast. He pulled out with "great regret" due to "massive theatre commitments".

The director of the festival, David Pickard called it "very sad news".

Pickard had tried to secure the Oscar-winning director for the Sussex festival for five years.

However Mendes said that setting up his new theatre company had "turned out to be much more time- and energy-consuming than I ever could have guessed, and has tied me almost permanently to New York."

Jonathan Kent has now been lined up to direct the production. His 2006 production of The Turn of the Screw for the festival was widely acclaimed, and this year he directs The Fairy Queen.

Pickard said: "I have no doubt that [Kent] will bring his customary flair and imagination to Don Giovanni."

Mendes insisted that when he does direct his first opera, it will be for Glyndebourne.

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