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Westonbirt House, one of Bampton Classical Opera's main performing venues

Bampton Classical Opera is an opera company based in Bampton, Oxfordshire specialising in the production of lesser known opera from the Classical period. Performances are always sung in English.

Bampton Classical Opera was founded in 1993 by its current artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray, in order to perform classical period opera in English. It works with a variety of conductors and ensembles and does not have a permanent music director.

The company's two to three opera productions a year are performed in the grounds of the Bampton Deanery and at Westonbirt House, the premises of Westonbirt School, as well as on tour to UK festivals. They also give concert performances of operas at St John's, Smith Square, the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London. The company has an outreach programme, Bampton Schools' Opera, which gives workshops on the operas they have staged or plan to stage, and provides secondary school students with the opportunity to participate in opera rehearsals.

John-Colyn Gyeantey (the Count) and Emily Rowley Jones (Susanna) in the UK première of Marcos Portugal’s Marriage of Figaro, Bampton 2010

In 2002, Bampton Classical Opera performed the United Kingdom première of The Philosopher's Stone (Der Stein der Weisen), a singspiel by Emanuel Schikaneder composed in collaboration with Mozart, Henneberg, Schack, and Gerl. In 2004, it gave the first UK staged performance of Salieri's Falstaff, and in July 2007 staged the UK première of Georg Benda's Romeo and Juliet. It also performed the Mozart arrangement of Handel's Acis and Galatea. In 2008 it presented Leonora by Ferdinando Paer, based on the same story as Fidelio, and in 2009 Le Pescatrici (The Fisherwomen) by Haydn. In 2010, it presented the UK première of Marcos Portugal's The Marriage of Figaro (1799), and The Masque of King Alfred and The Judgment of Paris by Thomas Arne. In 2011, it presented more performances of the Arne double-bill; Il parnaso confuso by Gluck; The Italian Girl in London (L'italiana in Londra) by Cimarosa, first performed in 1778; and The Choice of Hercules by Handel. In 2012, it presented a revival of Marcos Portugal's The Marriage of Figaro and new productions of L'amant jaloux by André Grétry (1778) and Blaise le savetier (1759) by François-André Danican Philidor. In 2013 it is presenting a new production of Mozart’s first comic opera, La finta semplice (1769), in a new English translation, Pride and Pretence.

The company's patrons include Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Roger Norrington and David Pountney, as well as the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, in whose Witney constituency Bampton lies. The late Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir Philip Ledger were also patrons.


  • Jones, Roger, Review of Thomas Arne's Masque of King Alfred and The Judgment of Paris, MusicWeb International 7 November 2010 (accessed 29 January 2011)
  • Church, Michael, Review of Benda's Romeo and Juliet at Bampton Classical Opera, The Independent 20 September 2007 (accessed 24 September 2007)
  • Tanner, Michael, Review of Acis and Galatea, Spectator 24 May 2007 (accessed 29 January 2011)
  • Porter, Andrew, Review of Martín y Soler's La scuola dei maritati at Bampton Classical Opera, The Times 18 August 2006 (accessed 22 June 2007)
  • Thicknesse, Robert, Review of Paisiello's The Barber of Seville at Bampton Classical Opera, The Times 21 July 2005 (accessed 22 June 2007)
  • Thicknesse, Robert, Review of French double bill, Bampton Opera, Oxford Times 26 July 2012 (accessed 23 August 2012)

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