Enhance your staycation with a night at the Opera -MezzoCav & Pagliacci at Belcombe Court 

Iford Arts, in association with Opera Ensemble, present perhaps the most famous operatic double-bill of all time, MezzoCav & Pagliacci.  Presented in a safe and socially distanced way within the stunning and rarely opened grounds of Belcombe Court in Bradford on Avon, it’s a staycation must for all lovers of opera and formal gardens alike.

In one of the great double-acts of history, Cav and Pag feature high in cultural reference. Two unconnected operas that were first brought together by the Met in New York in 1893, they are nevertheless from the same stable of operatic genre – verismo, or ‘real life’. Spellbinding in its force, powerful and visceral. When talking about Pagliacci, Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times called it 'thrilling', and the Arts Desk reviewer to pronounce that 'Christopher Luscombe’s production brings out that essence, and leaves it naked and exposed..’. Opera is often at its most searing when many of the accoutrements are stripped away from productions to reveal the dramatic and emotional heart of a piece.

Think the ‘Godfather’ and ‘Raging Bull’ - those iconic scenes where the music took you to a place filled with tragedy, despair and drama, this concert is one to move and inspire the most hard of hearts.

If you thought opera was somewhat inaccessible and remote, think again. MezzoCav – a concert of highlights from this most enduring of masterpieces – it introduces the dramatic flavour and atmosphere of an Italianate verismo evening. Think the ‘Godfather’ and ‘Raging Bull’ - those iconic scenes where the music took you to a place filled with tragedy, despair and drama, this concert is one to move and inspire the most hard of hearts. Standards are high here - Susan Bullock, magnificent in Wagner and other repertoire for many years and one of Britain’s finest artists will lead the ensemble in a glorious appetiser to the dramatic climax of the evening. Directed by our very own Oliver Gooch, this evening at Belcombe really is a game of two quite sensational halves.


The dramatically staged production of Pagliacci follows and closes the evening, directed by the brilliant Christopher Luscombe, it is spellbinding in its force and we have to say, full of some quite brilliant singers. Pagliacci, the story of a troupe of clowns, indulging libido and crushing betrayal, is another of the pure verismo classics of the repertoire. The opera is most famous for the Vesti la Giubba aria (On with the motley) in which cuckolded clown Canio takes his revenge during the ‘play within a play’; a devastating denouement that sits among the most dramatic in the entire repertoire. Featuring Elin Pritchard as Nedda, one of the UK's most exciting sopranos of the moment and fresh from her critically acclaimed performance as Manon at the Grange Festival’s Manon Lescaut after which Opera Scene proclaimed ’the deafening applause and traditional foot stomping of the audience demanding bow after bow must prove unforgettable’. Peter Auty plays Canio and has been plying his trade at leading opera houses for many years - together, they are a ferocious leading pair. The rest of the company brings to Iford Arts one of the best casts in its history.

The double-bill represents an extraordinary and atmospheric evening of music and drama, with some of the finest singers around today. 

With just a few tickets left, and as a staycation treat it is likely to be a deeply affecting and moving experience, so pack your picnics and crack open the bubbly and join us for an evening to remember at Belcombe Court in Bradford on Avon. 

Sung in Italian with English Subtitles

Gardens open for picnics at 5pm 

Performances start at 7pm. There will be a 30min interval.

Ends approx. 9.45pm


Iford Arts Limited,

15 Market Street Bradford-on-Avon

Wiltshire | BA15 1LL

01225 868 124