Summer Opera 2024

34th Season

Haydn: La vera costanza

Conductor: Steven Devine
Producer: Michael Burden
26 June (Preview), 29, 30, July 2, 3, and 5, 2024

The Evening’s Events


18.00: Drinks in the Cloisters
18.30: Opera Act I
19.45: Picnic Interval in the Cloisters (approximately 75 minutes)
21.00: Opera Acts II and III
22.15: Curtain

June 26: (Preview) New Chamber Opera – Tickets from TicketSource
June 29: New College Development Office – contact [email protected] for ticket information.
June 30: Friends of Welsh National Opera – contact Bernadette Whittington, [email protected] or call 07813 907466 for ticket information.
July 2: New Chamber Opera – Tickets available from TicketSource
OXPIP Supporters – Tickets available from SheepApp
July 3: Friends of the Oxford Botanic Gardens – Tickets available from the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum
July 5: New College Development Office – contact [email protected] for ticket information.


Rosina, a fisherwoman
Aine Smith
Baroness Irene, Count Errico’s aunt
Lara Marie Müller
Lisetta, the baroness’s maid
Kate Semmens
Count Errico, secret husband of Rosina
Joseph Doody
Marquis Ernesto, friend of Errico
David Horton
Masino, fishermanRosina’s brother
Robert Forrest
Villotto, a wealthy but doltish gentleman
Thomas Niesser

Haydn’s riotous comedy, La vera CostanzaThe True Constant, was one of the composer’s early works for the theatre at Eszterhaza, the summer palace of his patron, from 1762, Nikolaus I, Prince Esterhazy. The opera was first performed on 25 April 1779 and was later revived there in 1785. The version of the work we have today is a reconstruction for the 1785 revival; a fire destroyed the theatre in late 1779, and with it were lost the performing materials and scores for some of Haydn’s operas. The composer subsequently reconstructed a number of them – including the much-loved Il mondo della luna– from sketches and from memory. 

Haydn’s opening storm sequence which begins in the overture, sees Baroness Irene, Ernesto, Lisetta, and Villotto rescued from a shipwreck by Rosina and Masino. Count Errico, whom she hopes to dissuade from marrying the fisherwoman Rosina. But – and not unusually for the 18th century – we discover that the Count has ALREADY married (and abandoned) Rosina, who has had a child by him. Neither the Count nor the Baroness and her retinue know of the child’s existence. The Baroness is promoting Villotto as a possible husband for Rosina, an impossibility that descends into farce, when the Count suddenly appears, threatening to kill his rival with a pistol. And so the opera proceeds, with Ernesto threatening Masino with a dagger, and other probable – and improbable – incidents!