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Mansfield Park POSTPONED (TBC)

Composed by Jonathan Dove with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton

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Following the developing situation around COVID-19, all events at the college from Monday 16 March until Tuesday 14 April are cancelled. We will be looking to reschedule performances. Please visit www.rncm.ac.uk for future updates. Events from Tuesday 14 April will be reviewed as the situation continues to develop.

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Where reinstatement of the performance at a later date is not possible, or if patrons are unable to make a rescheduled date, a full refund will be issued when services are resumed. Unfortunately we are unable to process refunds until this time.

Composed by Jonathan Dove with a libretto by Alasdair Middleton

How do you set a classic novel to music? Moreover, how do you set that most popular of English novelists, Jane Austen, to music?

Jonathan Dove said that he ‘heard music’ when he first read Mansfield Park. With leading British opera librettist and playwright, Alasdair Middleton, he set about adapting this classic novel, and from the first words sung by the whole company, ‘Mansfield Park, Chapter One’, there is a strong narrative drive, impeccable vocal writing and wonderful ensembles that sparkle with style and wit.

This composition has the distinction of being the first completed operatic adaptation of any Jane Austen novel ever to be staged. Commissioned by Heritage Opera Company in 2011 as a site specific piece to be performed in stately homes, it has 10 solo roles accompanied by an intimate chamber orchestra.

In a 2017 interview in the Guardian, Dove said that ’Fanny Price’s pained silences gave me the impulse to write music for her’. He picked up the musicality of Austen’s writing and, in conjunction with Alasdair Middleton, created a witty and accessible interpretation. The music is an enjoyably eclectic mix of styles from classical pastiche to Philip Glass by way of the soaringly romantic, as well as hints of Benjamin Britten and even Stephen Sondheim.

This is a love story at heart, as Fanny Price and the other residents of Mansfield Park and their friends overcome hurdles to find true love and happiness during the course of the opera’s 18 chapters. There are all sorts of repressed emotions – symbolised by the formality and constraints of the ‘Big House’ – and it can also be seen as a prophetic social panorama, with its underlying clash of moralities as old Tory ‘decency’ goes head to head with nouveau riche opportunism.

This production will be sung in English with surtitles.

Licenced by arrangement with Peters Edition Limited, London.

Edition Peters

We have generous discounts available depending on the size of your group. Click here for more information or call 0161 907 5555 to book.

If you fancy a bite to eat before the opera, pre-opera dining* is available to book in our restaurant before the evening performances, please call 0161 907 5353 to make a reservation (book early to avoid disappointment) *There’s also a Sunday Lunch available before the matinée performance on Sun 22 Mar and an Afternoon Tea available before the matinée on Sat 28 Mar. Booking and pre-payment is required for these afternoon events, please book on the number above.

If you are under 18, you can save 50% on your tickets.

A selection of  Jonathan Dove’s  works for soprano and piano

Free admission, no ticket required

A sharing of work by performers from homelessness arts charity Streetwise Opera inspired by Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park.

Free admission, no ticket required

New to Opera? Click here to read our handy guide to all things opera…

Nicholas Kok conductor
Stephen Barlow director
Yannis Thavoris set and costume designer
Jason Taylor lighting designer
Kaapo Ijas assistant conductor (28 Mar)
RNCM Opera Orchestra

Download full cast information

Born in 1959 to architect parents, Jonathan Dove’s early musical experience came from playing the piano, organ and viola. Later he studied composition with Robin Holloway at Cambridge and, after graduation, worked as a freelance accompanist, repetiteur, animateur and arranger. His early professional experience gave him a deep understanding of singers and the complex mechanics of the opera house.

Starting with his breakthrough opera Flight, commissioned by Glyndebourne in 1998, Dove has gone on to write almost thirty operatic works. Jonathan Dove was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2019 Birthday Honours for services to music.