Presenting fully staged grand opera, sung in English

Bristol Opera plans to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s  “A Masked Ball” on the 2 July 2022. The opera combines political intrigue, forbidden love and assassination, and is loosely based on an 1833 play, about the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was shot while attending a masked ball.

Auditions will be on Sunday, the 3nd of April, from 1:30pm at St Andrews Church, Elm Park, Filton, Bristol BS34 7PS. If you are interested in any of the parts, could you please let us know soon. If you cannot do the 3rd of April you can also audition on at a Thursday rehearsal.

RoleVoice type
Riccardo, Earl of Warwick and governor of Bostontenor
Amelia, wife of Renato, in love with Riccardosoprano
Renato, husband of Amelia and Riccardo’s secretary, best friend and confidantbaritone
Oscar, Riccardo’s pagesoprano
A judgetenor or soprano
Silvanobass or alto/mezzo
Amelia’s servanttenor or soprano

Audition pieces are based on the Ricordi score, available on IMSLP [Under “Vocal Scores]. For the performances we will be using a translation by Graham Billing, copies can be obtained at rehearsals.

The audition pieces will be

  • RICCARDO [Tenor] pages 249 to 254
  • RENATO [Baritone] pages 209 to 215
  • AMELIA [Soprano] pages 134 to 141
  • OSCAR [Coloratura Soprano] pages 28 to 32
  • ULRICA [Mezzo-Soprano] pages 50 to 53
  • SAMUEL & TOM [Basses] pages 7 to 10

The parts Silvano, High Court Judge, and Amelia’s Servant can audition with a small piece of their choice which does not need to be from this opera.

Company members, please contact a member of the committee to arrange an audition time. If you are not a company member, please use the membership email address on the website. Please note there will a non-refundable audition fee of £10, to be paid before the audition for non company members.

Fresh from the success of their recent performances of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, Bristol Opera are reviving their crowd-pleasing production to raise funds for the people of Ukraine.

This enterprise is the brainchild of soprano Sophie Kirk Harris, who played the prima donna role of Adina in the production. She is passionate about finding a way to help the people of Ukraine and felt this would be the best way to use the talents of everyone involved.

The Elixir of Love is a charming, light-hearted opera full of sparkling tunes, performed in this production by a cast of highly talented young professional and semi-professional singers.

The company will be performing two semi-staged concert versions of the opera. William Stevens will conduct, as well as singing the role of Dr Dulcamara, and Robert Marson will accompany on the piano.

“The reaction from the company was amazing,” Sophie told us. “I couldn’t believe every single person would be available and get behind the idea, but the response was unanimous.”

Sophie and other cast members are also working hard to produce a range of special crafts in support of Ukraine, which will be for sale at the concerts.

The Elixir of Love
Gaetano Donizetti
Saturday 19th March 7pm
at St Francis Church, 287 North Street, Ashton Gate, BS3 2AN
Tuesday 22nd March 7pm
at All Saints Church, Pembroke Road, Clifton, BS8 3ED

Recommended donation £10 with bucket collection. Tickets on the door.

Casting is now complete for our 2022 production of L’Elisir D’Amore.

AdinaSophie Kirk-Harris
NemorinoOliver Chubb
BelcoreTimothy Allan
Dr DulcamaraWilliam Stevens
GianettaEthel-Jane Cormack

L’Elisir D’Amore is being performed24th – 26th February at the 1532 Performing Arts Centre. Tickets will be available by phone, email, or online. See our ticket page for more information

To hear about future auditions, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news and information from Bristol Opera

So, it’s almost September, and at long last will be heading back for rehearsals, at our new venue: St Mary’s, Stoke Bishop, (The Church Hall), Mariners Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 1QJ

This is in fact a venue we have used in the past, and there is good parking on the streets around the church, plus plenty of space in the venue for a company of our size.

Although Covid is now more under control, we should still be cautious and will be putting the following protections in place:

  • A screen will be used between the conductor and the singers
  • Singers will be seperated into bubbles, with gaps between bubbles and singers
  • We encourage our members to take lateral flow tests before rehearsals. For more information about lateral flow tests and how to order them, please see the UK Government Website

We are taking advice from the South Glos on best practice, and they will also be helping us develop a safe Risk assessment for our rehearsals.

We look forward to seeing you all again in a few weeks! If you are not yet a member of Bristol Opera and would like to join us, please see our Join us pages.

We are delighted to announce that Bristol Opera will be holding auditions for our forthcoming production of L’Elisir D’Amore on Sunday 18 July from 1PM at St Mary’s Church, Mariners Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol BS9 1QJ for the following roles:

Role Voice Type
Adina Soprano
Gianetta Soprano
Nemorino Tenor
Belcore Baritone
Dr. Dulcamara Baritone

The fee for an audition is £20 which you can bring with you on the day or pay in advance. This fee is deducted from your membership subscription if you are offered a part.

Principals will need to be available for rehearsals on Thursdays from September and some Sundays.

If you would like to audition, please contact auditions@bristolopera.co.uk to register your interest.

L’Elisir D’Amore will be performed at the 1532 Performing Arts Centre 24th – 26th February 2022.

It has been a year since we had to suspend Bristol Opera and cancel our performance of Hugh the Drover. But now we have some great news: WE’RE COMING BACK!

To kick off our return, we will be starting rehearsals for our next performance of L’Elisir D’Amore by Donizetti 24th – 26th February 2022, directed by Charlotte Monk. Pending any COVID-19 restrictions, we will be returning on Thursday 2nd September 2021. Please check back for confirmation of the venue. If you would like to join use for the production, please see our Join us pages or contact us for more information. Audition will be held over summer. Keep an eye out for more information nearer the time.

We haven’t just been thinking about our next production though. 2023 marks our 100th birthday!

Bristol Opera was founded in 1923 by Robert Percival and the first production was The Snow Maiden in 1924 at the Colston Hall Theatre. To celebrate we have come up with a great programme of events.

24th – 26th February 2022L’Elisir D’Amore – Donizetti
Summer/Early Autumn 2022Concert
February 2023La Traviata – Verdi
Summer 2023Centenary Opera Gala
February 2024Turandot – Puccini

We’re so excited to be coming back and seeing you again!

With the Government’s extension to the current lockdown, we have made the unfortunate decision that we will be cancelling our summer production of Hugh the Drover. We had looked at delaying the concert, but given the lack of available rehearsal time when restrictions are lifted, we do not feel we will be able to prepare and perform a complex work such as Hugh the Drover.

When rehearsals restart, we will instead be focussing on our Spring 2021 production of L’Elisir D’Amore with Charlie Monk as director and a new translation by Graham Billing. We will be keeping you up to date with our plans going forward, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

As I’m sure you are all aware, the spread of COVID-19 globally is causing a lot of changes to our day to day life, with information changing daily and measures being put in place to slow the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable in our society.

As such, Bristol Opera will be following guidelines set by the UK Government and the WHO around social distancing.

  • Opera rehearsals will be suspended with immediate effect until 25th June. This is subject to any changes in guideline between now and then
  • Auditions for Hugh the Drover will be delayed until further notice. We will make an announcement when a new date is arranged
  • Our production of Hugh the Drover will be postponed until September/October. This is dependent on the availability of the venue and performers
  • Subject to changes to official guidelines, we are considering rehearsing through summer, effectively bringing our summer break forward.

Arne, Graham and the rest of the committee are working hard behind the scenes to ensure we are all ready to go when restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, keep yourselves safe and we look forward to seeing you when we meet again.

Auditions for Hugh the Drover will be taking place on Thursday 26th March, at Horfield United Reformed Church between 7:30PM and 9:30PM. If you would like to audition for any of the roles below, please contact auditions@bristolopera.co.uk. Alternatively, we are still accepting new members who with to join the chorus. Please contact membership@bristolopera.co.uk or see this page for more information.

Principle Roles

Role Voice Type Role Details
Hugh the Drover Tenor The romantic lead. An outsider who won’t give up his wandering life and settle down.
Mary Soprano The girl who is about to be trapped in a loveless marriage when Hugh comes into her life.
The Constable Bass-Baritone Mary’s father. Very pompous. Thinks he can bully Mary into marrying the man of his choice.
John the Butcher Bass-Bariton A vicious thug, but the man the Constable wants Mary to marry.
Aunt Jane Mezzo-Soprano Mary’s aunt, fussy and motherly, but ultimately accepting that Mary can only be happy with Hugh.
The Turnkey Tenor A jobsworth whose love of alcohol makes him pretty useless.

Other Roles

In addition to the main roles, there are several smaller parts. Those wishing to audition for these roles may also join the chorus.
Role Role Details
The Cheap-Jack A dodgy pedlar at the fair. Can be played by a man or a woman.
The Showman Another person trying to make a living from the fair, who is very patriotic and also arranges the boxing-match between Hugh and John. Can be played by a man or a woman.
The Ballad-Seller Can be played by a man or a woman.
The Shellfish-Seller Male role
The Primrose-Seller Female role
Susan, Nancy, William and Robert An SATB Semi-Chorus
The Fool Not the village idiot, but a jester who accompanies the Morris Dancers. Can be played by a man or a woman
The Innkeeper Sings one line
The Sergeant An important part, who saves Hugh from being lynched.

If you are not yet a member of Bristol Opera, a £10 audition fee will be required. If you are successful in your audition, this fee will be put towards your membership fee for the period. Please see our membership page for information about fees,

Hugh the Drover will be performed on Saturday 20th June 2020 at Tyndale Baptist Church. This will be a semi-staged production.

Written by Alexandra Denman

We are delighted to announce that next year's production of Samson and Delilah is now fully cast, with a group of wonderful singers from Bristol and beyond.

We are pleased to welcome back many faces that regular supporters will recognise from previous productions, and we are confident that we've put together an extremely strong and talented cast:

Role Actor
Samson Richard Lloyd-Owen
Delilah Rebecca Chellappah
High Priest Niall Hoskin
Abimelech Robert Marson
Old Hebrew Steven Harris
Hebrew Messenger Clare Daly
1st Philistine Messenger Graham Billing
2nd Philistine Messenger Saul Formoso

To see them in action, come along to the performances on 20th – 22nd February 2020 at The MacKinnon Theatre, Bristol.

And if you’d like to join us in the chorus of Samson and Delilah, singing this glorious music, rehearsals start on Thursday 5th September.