Queen Elizabeth I is approaching the end of her reign. Her affection for the impulsive Earl of Essex is tested when he grows increasingly ambitious. Should she listen to the guidance of her advisors or be swayed by emotion?
Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana was commissioned by the Royal Opera House to mark the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. William Plomer drew on Lytton Strachey’s Elizabeth and Essex to create the libretto, which artfully combines modern and archaic forms of English. Britten’s score is similarly diverse: it mixes the sounds and manners of Tudor England – from lute songs to courtly dances – with the composer’s own distinctive style.
Moving from the pomp of state ceremony to the intimacy of the Queen’s private rooms, Gloriana depicts the public and private faces of the Virgin Queen, and the deterioration of her relationship with the impulsive Earl of Essex. Director Richard Jones is known at the Royal Opera House for his characterful interpretations of Il trittico, The Gambler and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.
News and features
31 October 2013
Richard Jones’s Royal Opera production stars Susan Bullock and Toby Spence.
28 June 2013
Get ready with essential guides, production photos, interviews with the cast and a glimpse backstage into rehearsals.
28 June 2013
A look over this troubled relationship – and the glorious operas it produced.
25 June 2013
Audience tweets from the final live relay of the 2012/13 Cinema Season.
21 June 2013
A selection of your tweets from the opening night of Richard Jones's new production.
20 June 2013
Find out more about Britten’s underperformed gem from the lead singers.