When it comes to opera, Bath might not be the first city that pops into your head. There’s a reason for that. But let’s not underestimate this charming English city. Beloved for its Roman baths and Georgian architecture, Bath also boasts an opera scene that’s a deliciously unexpected aperitif to its rich cultural cocktail. The city serves up opera in a way that’s accessible yet deeply rooted in tradition, giving both opera newbies and seasoned aficionados something to hum about.
Whether you’re keen on catching a classic Verdi tragedy or you’re more into contemporary adaptations, Bath does have a couple of venues that occasionally turn up the dram. From the historic Theatre Royal to more intimate, off-the-beaten-path settings, opera in Bath is as much about the experience as it is about the performance. So, prep those opera glasses and get ready to be serenaded; we’re about to explore the best places in Bath to catch a performance that’ll make even the most staid Brit crack a smile.
Exploring Opera in Bath
If you’re an opera enthusiast, there are two main venues where you might be able to experience some fantastic performances while in Bath.
The Theatre Royal Bath is the city’s preeminent performing arts center, and often plays host to the English Touring Opera, an Olivier Award-winning company that brings exciting and accessible live opera performances to theatres all over the country.
The Theatre Royal is a stunning venue, offering an intimate and atmospheric setting for a memorable night of opera (when you can find it here).
Opera performances at Theatre Royal Bath aren’t frequent, but they are memorable when you can catch one.
If you’re looking for a more unconventional opera experience, keep an eye out for events at The Forum Bath. While it’s not an opera venue per se, it is the largest performance venue in Bath and does occasionally host opera performances.
For something a little different, head over to The Egg, a dedicated children’s theater that occasionally dabbles in opera productions. It’s a fantastic way to introduce young minds to the world of opera in an engaging and accessible atmosphere.
Bath Opera is a sensational opera company located in Bath, Somerset. They’ve been performing for many years, captivating audiences with their superb productions. They usually put on a tour of small-scale, fully staged operas throughout the south of England, from Surrey to South Wales.
You’ll find them regularly performing at the Roper Theatre, which is a part of Bath’s Hayesfield School. This venue is comfortable and superbly equipped, making it an ideal spot to enjoy top-notch opera performances.
With a roster of talented cast members, Bath Opera has showcased their skills at various venues in around Bath, including Bath University, Rondo Theatre, Midsomer Norton, Widcombe Manor, and Chippenham’s Neeld Hall.
Historic Opera Locations
While performances remain sporadic, Bath does have some fantastic historic locations that holds occasional operatic performances that are truly a sight to behold. Here are a few picturesque spots that host opera events in and near Bath.
Bath Abbey: Imagine watching an opera unfold with the iconic Bath Abbey as your setting. Some opera performances do take place in this historic landmark’s vicinity. The stunning architecture and incredible acoustics make it a memorable experience for both seasoned opera fans and newcomers alike. You can stumble upon A Night At The Opera — a showcase of various opera songs and solo — a few times a year.
Great Chalfield Manor: This stunning 15th-century manor provides a breathtaking backdrop for opera events. With immaculate gardens and impressive architecture, it’s no wonder Bath Opera has performed at this lovely venue.
When attending an opera in a historic or scenic setting, don’t forget to appreciate the views these exceptional locations offer. Between the acts or during intermissions, you can take in the setting itself, from lush gardens to centuries-old architecture. It’s makes these Bath opera performances almost a two-for-one deal.
If Opera Festival
If you’re an opera lover visiting Bath during the late summer, you must make your way to the If Opera Festival in nearby Bradford-on-Avon. This festival isn’t just another event on the cultural calendar; it’s a curated experience that brings together the power of operatic performances with an intimacy rarely found in larger venues.
With a keen emphasis on both classic and contemporary productions, the If Opera Festival offers a dynamic array of performances, ensuring that every attendee finds something that resonates with them. As the melodies rise and fall, they intermingle with the ambient sounds of the late summer evening, creating an atmosphere that’s both electric and ethereal.
Engaging workshops, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and interactions with the artists further enhance the festival experience, turning it into a holistic journey into the world of opera.
And since Bradford-on-Avon is just a short bus ride away, you can experience the wonders of this opera festival while remaining based in Bath. If you’re an opera aficionado visiting Bath during the season, you definitely don’t want to miss it.