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Opera in three acts 

Music by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Libretto by William Plomer, after the play Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History (1928), by Lytton Strachey

Premiered at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden on 8 June 1953

Premiere at the Teatro Real

New production by the Teatro Real, in co-production with the English National Opera

Principal Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real

(Coro Intermezzo / Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid)
Pequeños Cantores de la Comunidad de Madrid

Starting Point

During her last years as queen, Elizabeth I of England was a woman pushed to the limit. As the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she continued to carry on her shoulders the responsibilities of a divided kingdom and a church which was independent of Rome. Behind the court splendor, hid a woman who was prisoner of her contradictions, affected by age, and betrayed by the man she loved.

This duality can be seen in a libretto that intentionally combined prose and verse in historical and modern day English. The contrast between public and private life was the starting point for an opera which, by no means, met with the acceptance of British monarchical circles, in its bold portrait of the virgin Queen. Moreover, the opera was considered most inappropriate because of the context of its composition: the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. As a result, and in spite of the unanimous seal of approval for Britten’s dramatically forceful score, the work was neglected until it was accepted decades later. Gloriana continues to be a relatively unique piece and the acknowledgement of it artistic value, an absolute priority. 

Production Team & Cast

  • Musical director: Ivor Bolton
  • Stage director: David McVicar
  • Set designer: Robert Jones
  • Costume designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel
  • Choreographer: Andrew George
  • Chorus Master: Andrés Máspero
  • Children's Chorus Conductor: Ana González
· - ·
  • Queen Elizabeth I: Anna Caterina Antonacci (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    Alexandra Deshorties (Apr. 13, 17, 22)
  • Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex: Leonardo Capalbo (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    David Butt Philip (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Frances, Countess of Essex: Paula Murrihy (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    Hanna Hipp (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy: Duncan Rock (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    Gabriel Bermúdez (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Penelope, Lady Rich: Sophie Bevan (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    Maria Miró (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Sir Robert Cecil: Leigh Melrose (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    Charles Rice (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Sir Walter Raleigh: David Soar (Apr. 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24)
    David Steffens (Apr. 13, 17, 23)
  • Henry Cuffe: Benedict Nelson
  • A Lady-in-Waiting: Elena Copons
  • A Blind Ballad-Singer: James Creswell
  • The Recorder of Norwich: Scott Wilde
  • A Housewife: Itxaro Mentxaca
  • The Spirit of the Masque: Sam Furness
  • The Master of Ceremonies: Gerardo López
  • The City Crier: Àlex Sanmartí

Performance Dates

  • 12 APR (T) 20:00h
    Turn Première
  • 13 APR (F) 20:00h
    Turn W
  • 14 APR (S) 20:00h
    Turn G
  • 16 APR (M) 20:00h
    Turn B
  • 17 APR (T) 20:00h
    Turn C
  • 18 APR (W) 20:00h
    Turn D
  • 22 APR (S) 20:00h
    Turn H
  • 23 APR (M) 20:00h
    Turn A
  • 24 APR (T) 20:00h
    Turn F
  • Place: Main Auditorium