NOW ON SALE: Donizetti's Maria Stuarda (Mary, Queen of Scots)

This autumn, Tudor and Elizabethan National Trust properties open their doors for the premiere of OperaUpClose's new English version of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda.

Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I go head-to-head in this historical tragedy, culminating in a fictitious meeting between the rival queens, which sizzles with vocal fireworks. Political leaders jostling for position as battle-lines are drawn over questions of national sovereignty? We’ll leave you to draw any contemporary parallels…

These intimate and up close, concert-style performances will be taking place at Sutton House (Hackney), Osterley Park & House (Isleworth) and Canon's Ashby (Northamptonshire) between 8 Sept - 6 Oct. Seating is limited and performances are expected to sell out far in advance, so book now to avoid disappointment!

MARY STUART Flora McIntosh
LORD TALBOT Stuart Pendred
ANNA Louise Ratcliffe

Paul McKenzie

Robin Norton-Hale


8 Sept* 
The Portico | Osterley Park & House

10 Sept
Wenlock Barn | Sutton House

12 Sept**
Special Performance: Donizetti Up Close
Great Chamber | Sutton House

14 Sept
Wenlock Barn | Sutton House

15 Sept
Wenlock Barn | Sutton House

22 Sept
Grand Entrance Hall | Osterley Park & House

6 Oct
Priory Church | Canons Ashby

*This is an outdoor performance, partially covered. 

**This ticket price includes a complimentary drink, a post-show talk with the Creative Team and the opportunity for an audience with Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I.

National Trust Properties

OperaUpClose is proud to partner with the National Trust properieties of Osterley Park, Sutton House and Canons Ashby on the premiere of our new English version of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda. 

Each site offers its own unique elements of Tudor history as well as a rare opportunity to experience a legendary conflict that went on to define a nation – within the very walls that witnessed the birth of the Elizabethan era. So, you could even experience the performance at all three historic properties, each with their own story to tell.

Photos by Christopher Tribble


2018/19 Season Announcement

We've just announced OperaUpClose's 2018/19 season, it's really very exciting indeed (if we do say so ourselves).



This September, we bring two ferocious Tudor Queens to the stage in our new English version of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda. Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I go head-to-head in this historical tragedy, culminating in a fictitious meeting between the rival queens which sizzles with vocal fireworks.

Performing in concert-style, Donizetti's riveting opera will tour to Tudor and Elizabethan National Trust properties, for a unique blend of heritage and music, and out-of-hours access to these historical houses. Look out for performances at: Sutton House (Hackney), Osterley Park and House (Isleworth) and Canon's Ashby (Northamptonshire), to name a few... 

Tickets will be on sale at the end of May to OperaUpClose's Supporters, before the general public. Join our lovely Supporters now to get access to Priority Booking. 



One of the best-loved operas of all time, Madam Butterfly’s glorious music and tragic heroine have enchanted audiences for more than a century. This summer, we'll be running a week of Research and Development, with the intention to re-imagine Puccini's masterpiece from a female, East-Asian led creative team, performed by a diverse-led cast of talented singers and musicians. 
The production will open at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry on 24 January 2019 followed by an extensive UK tour, including a four-week run at East London's Arcola Theatre from Wed 6 Feb - Sat 2 Mar.

Become a Supporter of OperaUpClose to receive Priority Booking, exclusive post-show drinks & Q&As, invitations to behind-the-scenes rehearsals, and more*. Public booking opens soon, so keep an eye on your inbox. 

*Yes, more! You could steal our Artistic Director away for lunch or meet the cast for drinks after a show... the possibilities are endless, find out more here


We're thrilled to be writing a new opera for 3-5 year olds based on Jill Murphy's much-loved picture book, Peace At Last. This autumn, you'll find our team in the classrooms of Gallion's Primary School in Newham, where we'll be working with the children to develop the opera together through fun music-filled workshops. 

The opera will premiere at Gallion's Primary School in 2019 followed by a UK tour to schools and theatres.

What a season! Not only are we doing all of the above but we're also continuing to tour our 2017 productions of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Mozart's The Magic Flute; and we've got a new fully-staged production for solo soprano in the pipeline, which we'll be touring extensively to some of the smaller theatres for which our more recent shows are too big (Psst! Doesn't it sound perfect for private parties and corporate events? Email if you'd like to know more!). 

Why We Pay Our Trainees

By Indyana Schneider

2018 has seen a crackdown on unpaid internships. Following information gathered and published by the Sutton Trust earlier this year, articles have been published by The Guardian, BBC, and Telegraph spreading. the. word. Unpaid internships take advantage of those who do them, benefit the privileged, and rule out diverse talent.

Some stats:

  • The number of internships available in the UK has risen by as much as 50% since 2010
  • Around 50-70,000 internships are now offered each year in the UK
  • Between 10-15,000 of these were estimated by the government to be unpaid
    (This is likely underestimated as interns don’t appear on the payroll systems of companies, which makes it v difficult to know the exact number)
  • The cost of a single person doing an unpaid internship in London has been calculated at £1,019 (£827 in Manchester, for reference)

Something isn’t right here.

The big papers are confronting exploitative or unaware corporations, double underlining the simple fact that employers are legally obliged to pay at least the National Minimum Wage to interns. Despite tens of thousands of people continuing to work for free, at the end of 2017 there were no prosecutions in relation to interns and pay. Waters are murky because the definition of an 'employee' is murky – they know they don’t have to come into the office, right? Campaigners are looking to tighten this ‘volunteer loophole’, calling on the government to make it easier to identify how roles should be categorised.

However, unpaid work is legal if the worker: is under 16, a student working as part of their course, or is working for a charity and getting paid ‘expenses’. A lot of arts companies are registered charities (for good reason!), the majority of which offer unpaid internships.
This is worrying.

Like many other sectors, internships are a vital first step into a career as an Arts Professional. These days, the competition for full-time, paid opportunities is so intense that prospective employers expect even entry level candidates to have significant industry experience. A Catch 22 situation leaves many unable to get a job due to lack of experience and unable to gain experience because they cannot afford to work for free. We’re left with a pretty bleak picture of an arts industry unavailable to those without access to external support, damaging the sector and limiting social mobility.
This is backed up by some more stats (CREATE 2015):

  • A survey of more than 2,500 people working in the arts found that 75% had at least one parent in a “middle class” job
  • More than half had at least one parent with a university education
  • 88% of respondents also said that they had worked for free at some point in their careers


A primary concern of OperaUpClose is to diversify the audience and makers of opera, which will result in the most exciting, resilient and relevant art form for the future. Our paid trainee Producer and Director schemes aim to address the above-described cycle of economic discrimination. The trainees are offered valuable experience in a professional producing opera company, mentoring from experienced arts professionals, the opportunity to take responsibility for projects, to make mistakes in a supportive environment, to learn from those mistakes, and to make key contacts in the performing arts industry. Vitally, our trainees are paid at London Living Wage and 100% of our 20+ former trainees are currently employed. If you're an aspiring arts professional, keep a lookout for our trainee openings!

I’m looking forward to a future when all unpaid internships are scrapped completely, where the definition of an 'employee' is crystal clear, and all are paid and valued for their work and time. I'm proud to say we're already doing this here at OperaUpClose.

You can support our traineeship schemes by becoming a Supporter of OperaUpClose or by emailing to find out more.