Open Menu
Add your event

Your what's on guide for events in Leeds

The Beggar’s Opera

The Beggar’s Opera
Dates and times

18 Mar 2017 & 20 Mar 2017

Show Map


Boar Lane, Leeds, LS1 6HW

J. Gay (1685-1732) The Beggar's Opera (realised B. Britten (1913-1976))

Geraldine Cassidy director
David Cowan musical director
James Rosental stage director

The popularity of Britten’s three chamber operas proper (The Rape of Lucretia, Albert Herring, and The Turn of the Screw) has tended to somewhat overshadow his brilliant adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, the realisation of which was completed in 1948. Indeed, Britten’s harmonisations and arrangements of the pre-existing tunes, which he described as ‘among our finest national songs’, is so personal and idiosyncratic that the opera sounds like a totally original work. Despite the longish stretches of spoken dialogue, Britten brings all his usual techniques of dramatic characterisation to bear and binds the work together by effective use of leitmotif and meaningful key-schemes.

The scoring too is brilliantly imaginative with Britten varying the range and constitution of the orchestra almost from number to number. Dramatically too, the story chimes neatly with Britten’s preoccupations with the penultimate scene, where Macheath reflects on his fate in the condemned cell, remarkably foreshadowing the similar moment near the end of Britten’s next full-scale opera Billy Budd.

Text credit: Britten-Pears Library

Visit Website

Please check times with event organiser for any last minute changes.

£12 full price £10 concession

Leeds College of Music
  • Opera
  • Theatre
  • Music
About Leeds Inspired

About Leeds Inspired

The Leeds Inspired website lists thousands of events happening in Leeds every year. You’ll find gigs, exhibitions, dance,…

Applying for Leeds Inspired Funding

Applying for Leeds Inspired Funding

Leeds Inspired manages two grant schemes to support arts events and projects in Leeds. Since April 2012 we…

Leeds Inspired Funded Projects

Leeds Inspired Funded Projects

Leeds Inspired grants have supported hundreds of projects, read about some of them here...