A Coffin, a Confession, and a Cautionary Tale – Three Pieces of Music Theatre

Works by Nicolson, Hogarth, plus the premiere of Luke Smith’s An Organist’s Confession

10 March 2022
8.30 pm in New College Ante-Chapel

Book tickets here: TicketSource

Three Pieces of Music Theatre 

A Coffin – Last Things by Alasdair Nicolson, with a text by Craig Raine, is a meditation at the bedside of a dying woman. (Performance deferred)

A Confession – The Organist’s Confession by Luke Smith, with a text by Michael Burden, is a study of an organist with dementia.

A Cautionary Tale – The Evils of Tobacco by Samuel Hogarth, with a text after Chekhov, is a humorous didactic on smoking.

Last Things – Karol Jozwik, countertenor
The Evils of Tobacco – Austin Haynes, countertenor
The Organist’s Confession – Lindsay Bramley, mezzo-soprano Premiere

Cimarosa: The Secret Marriage

JdP Music Building, St Hilda’s College
1 and 2 November 2019, 8.00pm

Tickets: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on?q=newchamberopera

The only opera in history to have been entirely encored at its first performance, The Secret Marriage (Il matrimonio segreto) tells the story of Carolina, secretly married to her father’s secretary Paulino. Her father is trying to marry Carolina’s sister, Elisetta, to one Count Robinson, but his plans have been derailed; the Count only wants to marry Carolina. Meanwhile, Carolina’s and Elisetta’s Aunt Fidalma has fallen in love with Paulino, providing yet another complication… the libretto, by Bertati, is based on an English comedy by George Coleman, and set by Cimarosa, one of the most prolific and capable opera composers of the late 18th century. It was first staged on 7 February 1792.

Conductor: Joseph Beesley
Assistant conductor: Toby Stanford
Director: Michael Burden

Carolina: Margaret Lingas
Elisetta: Emily Brown Gibson
Fidalma: Stephanie Franklin
Paulino: Richard Douglas
Count Robinson: Tom McGowan
Geronimo: Chris Murphy

‘Too many notes’
Mozart Arias in Masterclass

A masterclass with Jonathon Swinard

8 November
New College Ante-chapel

This event is free, but is ticketed; please book here:

Masterclass participants: Alexander Gebhard, Emily Gibson, Patrick Keefe, and Indyana Schneider

Conductor and pianist Jonathon Swinard is the Head of Music at Garsington Opera and the Artistic Director of the Scottish Opera Young Company. He studied at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, where he held the NCO Répétiteur Scholarship, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He began his career at Scottish Opera as the company’s first Emerging Artist Répétiteur and also held the Alexander Gibson Choral Conducting Fellowship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus. From 2014 to 2016 he was Solorepetitor and Kapellmeister at the Staatstheater in Nuremberg where he conducted opera, ballet, and musical theatre. In 2016 he returned to Scottish Opera as Chorus Master and Répétiteur. He studied conducting with Sian Edwards at Dartington and is the Musical Director of the Helensburgh Oratorio Choir.

Jonathon is a long-standing member of Faculty for both the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto and Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and is a visiting vocal coach at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Academy of Music, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is passionate about the training of young voices and is the Artistic Director of the Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme at Garsington Opera.

The 2018 Humanitas Professor of Opera: William Christie

William Christie. Photo: © Oscar-Ortega

Event 1
21 June 2018
Edward Boyle Auditorium, St Hilda’s College

William Christie, Rameau and
Staging Baroque Opera

2.30pm Lecture- James Halliday
3.30pm Tea
4.00pm Round Table discussion
James Halliday, with William Christie, Claire Holden, Jonathan Williams, Jonathan Patterson
5.30pm Drinks Reception

Event 2
22 June 2018
Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College


William Christie in Conversation with
Edward Higginbottom

This event will take place in the programme of the Oxford Conducting Institute’s International Conducting Studies Conference 2018.

William Christie

William Christie, harpsichordist, conductor, musicologist, and teacher, is the inspiration behind one of the most exciting musical adventures of the last 30 years. A pioneer in the rediscovery of Baroque music, he has introduced the repertoire of 17th- and 18th-century France to a very wide audience across the globe. Born in Buffalo, and educated at Harvard and Yale, William Christie has lived in France since 1971. The turning point in his career came in 1979, when he founded Les Arts Florissants. Major public recognition came in 1987 with the production of Lully’s Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris. From Charpentier to Rameau, through Couperin, Mondonville, William Christie is the uncontested master of tragédie-lyrique as well as opéra-ballet. But his affection for French music does not preclude him from exploring other European repertoires as Monteverdi, Rossi, Scarlatti, Landi, Purcell, Handel, Mozart, Haydn ou Bach.

Notable among his most recent operatic work are Campra’s Les Fêtes vénitiennes in 2015 at Paris’s Opéra Comique and then at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Rameau, Maître à Danser created at Caen Theater in 2014; Theodora in 2016 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and, in 2018, Handel’s Jephtha at the Opéra de Paris and Ariodante at the Wiener Staatsoper. As a guest conductor, William Christie often appears at opera festivals such as Glyndebourne (Giulio Cesare in 2018) or at opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera of New York, the Zurich Opernhaus, or the Opéra National de Lyon. His extensive discography includes more than 100 recordings. His most recent recordings in “Les Arts Florissants” collection at Harmonia mundi: La Harpe Reine, Un jardin à l’italienne, Bien que l’amour and B Minor Mass (release in Spring 2018). Wishing to develop further his work as a teacher, in 2002 William Christie created, with Les Arts Florissants, a biennial Academy for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix, Now established at Thiré in Vendée, where he lives. Since 2007 he has been artist in residence at the Juilliard School in New York, where he gives master classes twice a year accompanied by the musicians of Les Arts Florissants. In 2012, he launched the festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie in his own gardens, where he welcomes every summer young musicians from the Juilliard School along with the musicians of Les Arts Florissants.

In November 2008, William Christie was elected to France’s Académie des Beaux-Arts, and gave his official inaugural speech under the dome of the Institut de France in January 2010. In 2018 he was named world ambassador for French culture by Le Bureau Export, in the presence of French culture minister Françoise Nyssen.

Andreas Scholl

The University’s first
Humanitas Visiting Professor of Voice and Classical Music

Photo credit: © Decca/James MacMillan


19 February 2018
T. S. Eliot Lecture Theatre
Andreas Scholl in conversation
‘Beyond Bach’
5.00pm, followed by a reception

20 February 2018
Masterclass, Holywell Music Room
11.00am-1.00pm; 2.00-5.00pm

21 February 2018
Masterclass, Holywell Music Room
11.00am-1.00pm; 2.00-5.00pm

22 February 2018
Masterclass, New College Chapel
Masterclass Concert, New College Chapel

Admission is free, but please book via http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

Born into a family of singers, Andreas Scholl, aged 13, was chosen from 20,000 choristers gathered in Rome from around the world to sing solo at Mass on 4 January 1981. Just four years later, Scholl was offered a place at the Schola Cantorum, an institution that normally accepts only post-graduate students, and now succeeded his own teacher there, Richard Levitt. His operatic roles include Bertarido in Handel’s Rodelinda at Glyndebourne in 1998 and at the Met in 2006, and the title role in Giulio Cesare at Oper Frankfurt. He has worked with many of the contemporary Baroque specialists including William Christie and Philippe Herreweghe.

Scholl has released a series of extraordinary solo recordings including: Wanderer – a disc of German Lied in partnership with pianist Tamar Halperin; O Solitude – an all-Purcell album with Accademia Bizantina which won the 2012 BBC Music Magazine award, Arias for Senesino, Heroes – a disc of arias by Handel, Mozart, Hasse and Gluck, Robert Dowland’s A Musicall Banquet, Arcadia – a collection of rare and unpublished cantatas by composers from Rome’s Arcadian Circle, Wayfaring Stranger – a selection of specially arranged English and American folksongs with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bach cantatas with Kammerorchester Basel and Vivaldi Motets with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, all of which are released on Decca. His most recent recording, Small Gifts of Heaven, is a collaboration with Dorothee Oberlinger and released on the Sony label this season.

Visiting Professor of Opera 2017-18 – Stephen Langridge

The University’s Visiting Professor of Opera, 2017-18

Admission is free, but please book via http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

26 October 2017
Stephen Langridge in conversation: “Why play opera at all?”
5:00-6:45pm; T. S. Eliot Lecture Theatre

27 & 30 October 2017
Making Opera

27 October 2017
Singers’ workshop
10.00-1.00pm; Long Room, New College
New creations
2.00-5.00pm: Long Room, New College

30 October 2017
Working with the New
10.00-1.00pm: Long Room, New College
Performing the New
2.00-5.00pm: Long Room, New College

Stephen Langridge is Artistic Director (Opera/Drama) of GöteborgsOperan, the Gothenburg Opera. Having studied Drama at Exeter University, Stephen then spent several years working as assistant director, mostly with the cutting edge company, Opera Factory, but also at Covent Garden, Opera North and Scottish Opera. His own practice developed through a mixture of small-scale tours of cut-down classics with Pimlico Opera, practical laboratories for composers and librettists, and devised music theatre projects, often in unconventional spaces with unconventional people. Underlying all his work is the belief that music theatre is a natural and dynamic form of human expression, to which everybody should have access, both as a creative participant and as an audience.

Stephen is well known for his education, development, and training work (projects in France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Senegal, South Africa, and throughout the UK), and for his theatre work in unusual settings, including West Side Story (Bernstein) and Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) with large casts of prisoners in various British high security prisons, and Ngoma, a multi-racial music and theatre project in South African townships.

Although his directing work is now often on a larger scale – including productions at many of the world’s leading opera houses – Stephen continues to work off piste incorporating smaller scale experimental and developmental projects as an essential part of his working life.

Visiting Professor of Opera 2017 – Katie Mitchell

Photo by Lucy Rybin

Friday 27 January @ 5 pm in the T.S Eliot Lecture Theatre, Merton College (to be followed by a drinks reception in the foyer)

Woman. Alone:  Directing opera now.

Katie Mitchell is one of the few senior women working in opera in Britain and mainland Europe today.  She has worked here at English National Opera, The Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival and Welsh National Opera. She is currently opening the revival of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Royal Opera House whilst preparing for George Benjamin’s second commission scheduled for 2018. She has also worked extensively in Germany, France, Austria and Scandinavia at houses like The Staatsoper, Berlin, The Salzburg Festival and Royal Danish Opera.  She is currently a resident artist at The Aix en Provence Festival where she has directed five operas including Pelleas and Melisande and Handel’s Alcina.  IN her first ‘Conversation’, she will describe her background in theatre and how she fell into opera to become one of its leading international lights.

Entry is free, but booking is advised:


Saturday 28 January @ 9.30 am in the Ante-Chapel, New College

Acting Handel:  How to bring the da capo aria to life on stage.

Katie Mitchell will draw on her recent experience of directing Handel’s Alcina at the Aix en Provence Festival to run a workshop giving insights into how to make the da capo aria work dramatically.  These arias are notoriously difficult for opera singers to perform on stage and the workshop will be offer acting ideas and concrete tips to help the young singer navigate this tricky form.  The workshop will take the form of a ‘masterclass’ where young singers are directed live by Katie in front of the audience.  There will also be opportunities for some audience participation.  Footage of the original production of Alcina will also be seen as part of the workshop.

Entry is free, but booking is advised:


Visiting Professor of Opera – Jane Glover


Event 4
Masterclass on Mozart Ensembles
4 March 2016
Chapel, New College

Free admission but tickets required from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

Jane Glover
Jane Glover studied at the University of Oxford, where, after graduation, she did her D.Phil. on 17th-century Venetian opera. She holds honorary degrees from several other universities, a personal Professorship at the University of London, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. She joined Glyndebourne in 1979, becoming Music Director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1981 to 1985 and Artistic Director of the London Mozart Players from 1984 to 1991. From 1990 to 1995 she served on the Board of Governors of the BBC and was created a CBE in the 2003 New Year’s Honours. She is Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and is also Music Director of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque.

Jane Glover has appeared with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne and Wexford Festivals, Metropolitan Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Royal Danish Opera, Opéra National du Rhin, Teatro Real, Madrid, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Teatro La Fenice, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Australia, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theater, Luminato, Toronto and Aspen Festivals. Particularly known as a Mozart specialist, her core repertoire also includes Monteverdi, Handel and Britten, who indeed personally influenced and guided her when she was 16, and to whose music she constantly returns. She has performed with all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain, at the BBC Proms as well as with orchestras in Europe, the US, the Far East and Australasia including the Orchestra of St Luke’s, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, St Louis Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Belgrade Philharmonic and Orchestre Nationale de Bordeaux et Aquitaine. She has appeared at the Mostly Mozart Festivals in both New York and London and is especially known for her experience in the choral repertoire.

Jane Glover has made many recordings; most recently a series of Haydn Masses for Naxos. Her extensive broadcasting career includes the television series Orchestra and Mozart, and the radio series Opera House and Musical Dynasties, all for the BBC. Her book, Mozart’s Women, received great critical acclaim, and she is currently writing a book on Handel.

Engagements in current and future seasons include Le nozze di Figaro in Goteborg, Iphigenie en Aulide for the Met Young Artists and Juilliard, The Rake’s Progress at the Royal Academy of Music, Cosi fan tutte in Aspen and L’Elisir d’amore at Houston Grand Opera. She has concert engagements with Music of the Baroque, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Visiting Professor of Opera – Graham Vick

Graham Vick HG2_5082 -  credit Hugo Glendinning website-2
Event 4
Masterclass on the the Mozart-Da Ponte operas
21 May 2015
Free admission but tickets required from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/newchamberopera

Graham Vick
Graham Vick is the Artistic Director of Birmingham Opera Company and works in the world’s major opera houses with the world’s leading conductors: Muti, Levine, Haitink, Gergiev, Runnicles Ozawa, Mehta.

He was Director of Productions at Scottish Opera (1984-1987) and at Glyndebourne (1994-2000). His many awards include Italy’s Premio Abbiati five times and Britain’s South Bank Show Award for Opera in both 1999 and 2002.

He is a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham and was Visiting Professor of Opera Studies at Oxford University in 2002/3.

He was awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2009.

His Wagner productions include Die Meistersinger in London, Parsifal in Paris, Tristan und Isolde in Berlin, and Der Ring in Lisbon. Verdi : Macbeth & Otello at La Scala, Falstaff in London , Don Carlo in Paris, Rigoletto in Madrid, Barcelona, Palermo and Firenze. Mozart: Die Zauberflote Salzburg Festival and Da Ponte trilogy at Glyndebourne and Mitridate in London and A Coruna.

He directed the world premieres of Berio’s Outis at La Scala and Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht in Birmingham.

Recent and future plans include Khovanskygate in Birmingham, War and Peace with Gergiev for the new Mariinsky Theatre, the world premiere of Haas’s Morgen und Abend at the Royal Opera House, Le Roi Arthus in Paris and La fanciulla del West at La Scala

Updated: Erismena Appeal

The Bodleian Library has succeeded in its campaign to save Erismena, the earliest surviving score of an opera in the English language.

During recent research, Dr Harry Johnstone, retired Reader in the Music Faculty and Emeritus Fellow of St Anne’s, discovered that Erismena was sold in 1797 at the auction of the library of William and Philip Hayes, who had been successive Heather Professors of Music at the University of Oxford. The acquisition makes it possible for the music manuscript to return home to Oxford.

Written by Pietro Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), the leading Italian opera composer of the mid-17th century, Erismena dates from the 1670s, 30 years before any other Italian operas were known to have been performed in Britain. The manuscript now enriches the Bodleian Library’s outstanding music collection and is an important addition to the Library’s existing holdings of English 17th- and 18th-century opera and theatre music.

The score has been part of a private collection and has been studied by only a small number of scholars in the past 50 years. It is one of the most significant British 17th-century music manuscripts to have appeared in recent decades.

A public appeal to raise £85,000 needed to acquire this unique manuscript was launched last November. The acquisition has been made possible thanks to the generous donations offered by the members of the general public and grants given by the V & A Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the Bodleian, the Friends of the National Libraries, New Chamber Opera and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library, said: ‘The Bodleian Library thanks all the members of the general public and the organizations whose donations made it possible for Erismena to be saved for the nation. The acquisition makes it possible for us to conserve this unique and significant manuscript for the benefit of generations to come.’