20 June 2013 at 6.17pm | Comment on this article
Richard Jones’s new production of Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana opens tonight (20 June), marking the first time the opera has been staged at Covent Garden for 60 years.
The opera, which was commissioned in honour of the Queen’s coronation in 1953, follows the turbulent relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex.
Toby Spence, who sings the role of Essex, describes how he has grappled to convey a character who is at once ‘sensitive, emotional and frustrated’."
He is someone who is adorable but impossible, loveable and un-loveable all at the same time.
The opera, which is based on Lytton Strachey’s Elizabeth and Essex, explores the tensions between the public and private life of the Queen. Find out more in our Opera Essentials series.
Susan Bullock sings the role of Queen Elizabeth I, whom she describes as a lion-hearted heroine.
To have this dilemma played out on stage, of the choice between public duty and her love and depth of feeling for Essex, shows a different side to what the history books delved into. We see quite a complex character on stage."
Gloriana runs from 20 June to 6 July. Tickets are available now.
It will also be screened live in cinemas on 24 June, marking the close of the ROH live Cinema Season 2012/13. It will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 at 6.45pm on 29 June.
This production has been made possible thanks to the generous philanthropic support of the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Boltini Trust and Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson.