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New Sussex Opera

The Dragon of Wantley

by John Frederick Lampe (1737)

The Dragon of Wantley - Lampe's 1737 smash hit: a Yorkshire legend, a send up of Italian opera seria, with earthy satire, razor wit and delightful music in the style of Handel.

A dragon is terrorising the Yorkshire countryside, devouring anything it meets. The only person who can save the locals is a drunken squire - if he can put down his pint. He agrees, but just as daunting as his monstrous opponent is the love triangle that ensues. Will the dragon prevail? And who will get their man?

The Dragon of Wantley, the 1737 smash hit of the London season, parodies Handel's serious operas - as well as poking fun at the government of the day. The combination of Lampe's first-rate music (of which Handel himself approved) and wonderfully witty libretto by Henry Carey makes this opera a comic gem.

Don't miss the rare chance to see this masterpiece of English comic opera performed with a traditional period orchestra as New Sussex Opera sets the opera in a South Yorkshire of the 1980's (against the background of the miner's strike). The recent recording of The Dragon of Wantley from the Brook Street Band and conductor John Andrews won BBC Music Magazine 2023 Award in Opera.

Conductor Toby Purser and director Paul Higgins join forces again following their success with Stanford's The Travelling Companion for New Sussex Opera, which was nominated for an International Opera Award, with what was a world première recording released on the SOMM label.

New Sussex Opera Chorus, The Bellot Baroque Ensemble, conductor Toby Purser, director Paul Higgins. Cast includes Magnus Walker, Ana Beard Fernández, Charlotte Badham, Robert Gildon.

Community based New Sussex Opera has been presenting innovative productions with high musical standards since 1978 specialising in lesser known or neglected works, including a number of UK premieres.

"Vocally valiant chorus"

The Guardian

"New Sussex Opera constantly surprises with its ambition and quality of its staged productions"

Opera Now

"NSO tackles territory none of the big guns would have dared approach"

The Telegraph