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Waterperry Opera Festival 2021

12 August to 21 August

About Waterperry Opera Festival 2021

Following the sell-out success of the 2020 mini-festival, Waterperry Opera Festival will return with an ambitious ten-day open-air Covid-safe festival in August 2021. This year’s programme will include seven productions as well as a variety of workshops, masterclasses, talks, and pop-up performances. With the advantage of Waterperry’s extensive historic grounds, the festival will continue to adapt and innovate in this changeable climate to create an engaging festival for all.

2021 Festival Programme

Waterperry Opera Festival 2021 - Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love

Festival Music Director Bertie Baigent will conduct four performances of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece THE ELIXIR OF LOVE. Directed by Dan Ayling and designed by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, the cast will consist of some of the most exciting emerging talent on the UK opera scene. Audiences are invited to attend performances on the lawn in front of Waterperry House on 12, 14, 15 and 17 of August starting at 6.00pm.

Associate Artistic Director Rebecca Meltzer directs a new adaptation of Humperdinck’s beloved fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel, in the atmospheric Waterperry woodlands. Conducted by Ashley Beauchamp, this striking production will incorporate British Sign Language, adopting a multidisciplinary approach to storytelling and offering an immersive experience for the whole family. Performances will take place at 2.00pm and 5.00pm on the 19, 20 and 21 of August, with an introductory music-theatre and craft workshop before each performance.

Waterperry Opera Festival 2021 - Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf

Artistic Director Guy Withers presents Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic tale for young children, choreographed by Julia Cave and conducted by Bertie Baigent. Performed beside the Waterperry lily pond on the 13, 14 and 15 of August at 11.00am and 12.00pm, this charming production will capture the imagination of all ages through music, dance and spoken word. This production will also tour the Lichfield Festival on 17 July.

Waterperry Opera Festival 2021 - Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

This late-night music and light installation will be a ground-breaking event. The Quartet for the End of Time by Messiaen will be performed in Waterperry’s impressive Amphitheatre and reimagined by visual artist Anne-Héloise Dautel. Led from the piano by Bertie Baigent, audiences can enjoy these events as a stand-alone performance or as part of their wider festival experience.

Waterperry Opera Festival 2021 - Jonathan Dove’s Ariel

Following its success in 2020, Jonathan Dove’s Ariel, will return to the Mary Rose Garden. Directed by Rebecca Meltzer, this intimate production offers an insight into Ariel’s world following the spirit’s release from Prospero’s command. Join us in the Mary Rose Garden and witness it first hand. Daniella Sicari will return to lead this captivating one-woman show.

Waterperry Opera Festival 2021 - Clairières dans le ciel composed by Lili Boulanger and On Wenlock Edge composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams

In partnership with Oxford Lieder, Emma Doherty will direct two newly-staged performances of Clairières dans le ciel composed by Lili Boulanger, words by Francis Jammes, and On Wenlock Edge composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, words by A. E. Housman, in the woodland at Waterperry. Audiences can enjoy these events as stand-alone performances or as part of their wider festival experience. The singers joining us for these projects are Siân Dicker (Clairières dans le ciel) and Ted Black​ (On Wenlock Edge).


Box office opens on 03 May (with priority booking available from 26 April).

Ticket prices:

  • The Elixir of Love from £15 to £60 (Saturday and Sunday) and £15 to £50 (Thursday & Tuesday)
  • Hansel and Gretel from £10 to £30
  • Peter and the Wolf, Ariel, Clairieres dans le ciel and On Wenlock Edge from £8 to £15
  • Quartet for The End of Time from £10 to £20

Good to know

  • Box office opens on 03 May (with priority booking available from 26 April).
  • Audiences can enjoy these events as a stand-alone performance or as part of their wider festival experience.
  • Concessions will be available for NHS workers, Blue Light Cardholders and individuals in receipt of unemployment and disability benefits.


"We see our festival as a wonderful opportunity to bring music and hope to our audiences when so little live performance is being offered. The safety and comfort of our artists and audiences are of the utmost importance to us. Festival attendees will be able to safely socially-distance in our outdoor performance spaces, guided by our trusty team of stewards.

"Our programme aims to develop new audiences of opera, offering something for everyone. We cannot wait to invite audiences to escape into the wild and immerse themselves in the magic of the music and nature we have on offer this summer." —Guy Withers, Artistic Director & CEO.


12 August
21 August
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Waterperry Gardens
Waterperry Gardens
Nr. Wheatley, Oxfordshire OX33 1JZ
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01844 339 254
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