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Maria Stuarda

Gaetano Donizetti

New Production

What would have happened had Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots met face to face? A thrilling imagining of this showdown is at the heart of Maria Stuarda. Donizetti’s riveting opera transports you to a Britain at war with itself and overcome by uncertainty and strife.

Rudolf Frey’s production shines a light on the striking parallels between the two heroines: the imprisoned Mary and Queen Elizabeth; a woman shackled by the demands of office.

Supported by a lead gift from the Peter Moores Foundation's Swansong Project. Supported by WNO Friends and WNO Idloes Owen Society and WNO Bel Canto Syndicate.

"Madeleine’s costume designs are quirky twists on period dress. We’re looking forward to bringing them to life"
Sian Price, Head of Costume

Free Pre-performance talks
Prior to every performance of The Tudors operas.

Fact and Fiction
Saturday 5 October | Thursday 14 November | Thursday 21 November
History has inspired great artists to create thrilling re-imaginings of historical events. Set in the splendour of some of the finest National Trust properties, Fact and Fiction combines costumed operatic performances in with the perspectives of historian Anna Whitelock and historical novelist Suzannah Dunn. If you are making time to see all three operas, Fact and Fiction is the perfect way to spend the middle afternoon of a consecutive cycle. Tudor themed refreshments are available.

At home with The Tudors
Thursday 10 October
Explore The Tudor Merchant’s House in Tenby with figures from the age of The Tudors. The House will be brought to life with the sounds of Donizetti’s operas during this hour long experience. A speaker will put Donizetti’s operas into historical context. This event in the picturesque seaside town of Tenby is the perfect excursion during the complete Tudors cycle in Swansea.

A Tudor Day Out
Thursday 24 October
Visit two of the finest Tudor buildings on this special coach trip to Speke Hall and Little Moreton Hall. On your way to the properties our speaker will give a special talk putting the properties and The Tudors into context. Lunch will be served at Little Moreton Hall. Ticket includes talks, coach travel, entry to the properties and lunch.

The Whole Story
Wednesday 4 September - Wednesday 13 November
The perfect way to prepare for The Tudors. Two weeks before performances begin, our team of experts will guide you through the music, stories and background to each opera.

Bel Canto Masters: Donizetti
Sunday 6 October - Friday 29 November
As we begin our journey through the classics of the bel canto repertoire, a specialist speaker will provide a guide to the life and work of Gaetano Donizetti.

David Pountney in Conversation
Thursday 5 September
David Pountney talks to members of The Tudors’ creative team about bringing this epic experience to the stage.

The Court awaits the arrival of Queen Elizabeth, who is expected to announce her marriage to the Duke of Anjou. Elizabeth reveals that she is still undecided as whether to unite the thrones of England and France by this marriage but assures her Court that she will only act for the good of the people. Aside, she confesses her secret love for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Talbot and the courtiers then plead for mercy towards Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, imprisoned at Fotheringhay, but Elizabeth is unwilling to relent, a course in which she is encouraged by Sir William Cecil.

Leicester arrives and is ordered by Elizabeth to take her ring to the French envoy as a token of her provisional acceptance of the marriage proposal. Deeply hurt by his cool reaction to this news, the Queen departs. Talbot tells Leicester of a meeting with Mary and gives him a portrait of her, along with a letter begging for his help. Leicester vows to secure Mary’s freedom. When Elizabeth returns she demands to see the letter he is holding. Despite her anger at Mary’s aspirations to the English crown and her intense jealousy of Leicester’s affections, she reluctantly agrees to visit her.

Mary and her companion, Hannah, recollect their early life in France. Hearing the sounds of the Royal Hunt, Mary realizes that Elizabeth is in the vicinity. Leicester arrives and explains that the Hunt is only a pretext for Elizabeth to visit Mary and persuades her to be submissive if she hopes for mercy. As the two women meet for the first time, each feels instant hostility towards the other. Mary humbles herself but Elizabeth responds by accusing her of treachery, murder and debauchery. Mary, taunted beyond endurance, denounces Elizabeth as the bastard daughter of Anne Boleyn.

Cecil urges Elizabeth to sign the order for Mary’s execution, following her complicity in the Babington plot to assassinate the Queen, but Elizabeth is still undecided; she cannot bring herself to condemn an annointed monarch. Cecil eventually succeeds in persuading Elizabeth to sign the warrant. When Leicester learns that Mary has been condemned to death he makes a final plea for her life, upbraiding Elizabeth for her cruelty when she refuses to yield. He is then detailed by the Queen to witness Mary’s execution.

Mary is visited by Talbot and Cecil; the latter hands her the death sentence and leaves her alone with Talbot. He tells her of Elizabeth’s decision that Leicester is to witness her execution. Mary becomes distraught and imagines that she sees the ghosts of her former husband and lover, Darnley and Rizzio. Talbot urges her to place her trust in heaven and to prepare to face her death with resignation.

A waiting crowd watches the preparations for Mary’s execution. Mary bids them farewell and they join her in a final prayer for heavenly pardon. Mary forgives Elizabeth and prays for the welfare of England. She breaks down when Leicester arrives, protesting her innocence and asking him to support her as the hour of her death approaches. A final cannon shot is heard and Mary is led out to the scaffold.

Conductor Graeme Jenkins (until 7 Nov)
Robin Newton (from 14 Nov)
Director Rudolf Frey
Designer Madeleine Boyd
Lighting Designer Matthew Haskins

Cast includes
Queen Elizabeth Adina Nitescu, Camilla Roberts (12 Dec and 14 Dec)
Mary Stuart Judith Howarth
Leicester Bruce Sledge
Talbot Alastair Miles
Cecil Gary Griffiths

For more information about our cast, see our Cast & Creative page.

All performances start at 7.15pm (except 22 September at 4pm and 10 October at 7pm)

Running time approximately 2 hours 21 minutes including one interval

Sung in Italian with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff, Swansea and Llandudno)

WNO and The National Trust are working together in partnership to support the performances with a rich programme of events at Trust properties including Tredegar House, Plas Newydd and The Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby. Visit for details of the events. Trust members are entitled to priority booking for these events through the properties until 1 May.

We have negotiated a special rate for those seeing more than one of The Tudors operas.

Marriott Hotels

Cardiff Marriott Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 7 September – 6 October 2013.

Swansea Marriott Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 8 October – 12 October 2013.

Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel
10% off rooms
Please find link below to Marriott hotels website to book online; rates will be subject to availability and discounted will be off any rate booked. For further information and to book please go to 
Rates are all subject to availability. Theatre ticket must be produced on check-in to qualify the rate to be changed. Discount of 10% will only be valid between 5 November – 9 November 2013.

Birmingham Marriott Hotel
£100 per night
You can now book online using the corporate code 7WO or they can contact Marriott reservations department on 0121 452 1144 and quote the reservation code WKAW to receive this deal. Book a room for just £100 per night based on double occupancy to include accommodation and breakfast. Valid for stays between 12 November - 16 November 2013 inclusive.

Meon Valley, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club
£99 per night
Valid for stays between 23 November - 1 December 2013 inclusive. Meon Valley, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club would like to offer guests of the Welsh National Opera preferential accommodation rates to stay at our 4* hotel.  Located amid the Hampshire countryside and in close proximity to Southampton city the hotel has great leisure and golf facilities to offer you the ultimate in relaxation.  Book a Standard Deluxe bedroom for just £99.00 per night based on single or double occupancy to include accommodation, full English breakfast, car parking use of the hotels leisure facilities and VAT.  Please note this offer is subject to availability and is not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotions.  To book telephone 01329 833455 quoting code PROM.  For further information on the hotel take a look at our website at

Thornbury Castle

Why not stay in England’s only Tudor Castle hotel?
Thornbury Castle is situated in Thornbury, North Bristol and has hosted regal visits from Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Mary I.

During the WNO Tudor Trilogy the hotel will be offering an exclusive package that includes:
1 x Night in a stunning bedchamber
Pre Theatre Starter and Main Course before departing for the performance
Taxi transportation to Bristol Hippodrome
2 Tickets for one of The Tudor Trilogy shows 6 - 8 November
Return transportation back to Thornbury Castle where your desserts and coffee will be served
Nightcaps can be taken in the lounge if you desire before you retire to your luxurious bedchamber
The following morning a freshly prepared Regal breakfast will be available for you before you depart at your leisure

Prices start from:
£360.00 based on 2 people sharing a classic bedchamber, price is per room per night and includes Car Parking, Wi-Fi and VAT
For any guests booking this package before the 5th October will receive a complimentary room upgrade worth £100.00

To book call 01454 281182 or visit

Llandudno Opera Holidays

Barbara Sandbach has organised Opera Holiday breaks to Venue Cymru, Llandudno. These breaks include:

  • Specially reserved and discounted WNO tickets of your choice
  • Selected promenade hotel accomodation near to the theatre
  • A copy of the programme for the operas
  • Reserved tickets for pre-performance talks
  • A welcome page

All packages include accomodation in the hotel of your choice, dinner, room and breakfast. For more information, please visit or contact Barbara on 01492 879 526.


Bodysgallen Hall

Bodysgallen Hall are offering a package which includes accommodation, cooked breakfast, two-course lunch (Value £25 per person), full use of the health and fitness spa (swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa bath, relaxation area and Club Room) and VAT.  

  • Double occupancy (double or twin) £115 per person per night (£345 for the three nights)
  • Single occupancy £145 per night (£435 for three nights)
  • For more information and to book this package at Bodysgallen Hall please call 01492 684466 or book online through and use WNOTudors as a booking code.

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