2 (Preview), 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 July 2008.

Thomas Arne’s opera Artaxerxes was the surprise hit of 1762. ‘Surprise’, because the English did not like recitative, and the last thing that should have appealed to them was an opera in English based on an Italian libretto by Metastasio. The London public’s initial reception was cool; but after the first season, it was revived, and went on being performed well into the 19th century. It held its popularity was partly because the role of Mandane became – in the hands of two or three great sopranos, such as Elizabeth Billington and Gerturd Mara – a testing ground for new sopranos some of whom made their debut in the role. The piece contains Italian style arias with the greast number of ‘divisions and difficulties which had ever been heard at the opera’. Three of these spectacular display pieces were included in the Proms in 2004.

For tickets for the Preview please download a form here.

For tickets for the 8th of July please download a form here.

Please contact the following numbers for tickets as below:

Fridays 4 and 11 July
Paula Wright
New College Development Office
(01865) 289 096

Saturday 5 July
Beth Hughes
University Alumni Office
(01865) 611 622

Sunday 6 July
Doreen Parker
National Arts Collection Fund
(01491) 641 259

Wednesday 9 July
Sarah Taylor
Friends of the Oxford Botanic Garden
(01844) 214 468

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July
Elaine Ledingham
Friends of the Welsh National Opera
(01865) 865 806