Mansfield Park

Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

“Jonathan Dove’s new opera is something of a tour de force for both the composer and his librettist, Alasdair Middleton, and for the company that commissioned it, Heritage Opera. He employs a piano duet, and the range of colours he achieves within this 18-scene opera is gratifying. The flow of invention and vivacious forward thrust creates a sense of boundless energy. The narrative is lively: characters are invigorated. The garden (‘Wilderness’) scene was particularly memorable.”Roderick Dunnett | Opera


A Chamber Opera in Two Acts

Libretto by Alasdair Middleton adapted from the novel by Jane Austen

Commissioned by Heritage Opera

World premiere: Heritage Opera, Boughton House, Northamptonshire, 30 July 2011

How do you set a classic novel to music? Indeed how do you set that most popular of English novelists, Jane Austen, to music? When first reading Mansfield Park, Jonathan Dove felt immediately that it was an opera. When Heritage Opera, which tours opera in English stately homes, approached Jonathan Dove for a commission, he thought this would be the perfect way of staging Mansfield Park – in a large drawing room, using 10 singers accompanied simply and strikingly with piano played in duet. With his talented librettist Alasdair Middleton, he set about adapting the novel. And from the first sung words by the whole company, “Mansfield Park, Chapter One”, there is strong narrative drive, impeccable vocal writing and wonderful ensembles that sparkle with style and wit.

Following the critical success of the first performances, the Royal Academy of Music in London presented it with their opera students for two performances in their 230-seat Sir Jack Lyons Theatre, proving the piece works well in small- to medium-size proscenium arch theatres, and that it is the perfect work for young artist schemes and music colleges.


Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, a Cinderella-like heroine, who quietly negotiates her way through the moral perils of early nineteenth century high society, from landscape gardening and amateur theatricals to balls and arranged marriages, and wins the hand of the man she has loved all her life.

Production History

Heritage Opera, UK, July to August 2011

Royal Academy of Music, UK, May 2012

Hampstead Garden Opera, UK, April 2013

Peabody Conservatory Chamber Opera, USA, February 2015

Durham University, UK, June 2015

Indianapolis Opera, USA, March 2016

Operantics, Sydney, Australia, April 2016

Grange Opera, UK, September 2017 (Orchestrated version)

Georgia Southern Opera, USA, October 2017

Waterperry Opera, UK, August 2018


Duration, Technical Information and Resources

Mansfield Park (2011)

Chamber Opera in Two Acts | 105 minutes

Libretto by Alasdair Middleton, based on the novel by Jane Austen

3S.2Mez.A.2T.2Bar Soli

Pf (4 hands)

Commissioned by Heritage Opera

First performed 30 July 2011, Boughton House, Northamptonshire, Heritage Opera, Chris Gill

EP 72027


Version for 13 instrumentalists (2017)

3S.2Mez.A.2T.2Bar Soli

1(Picc).1(Ca).1.1 – – 1Perc – Pf – Str (

First performed 16 September 2017, Grange Festival Opera, Michael Chance

EP 72067b



Fanny Price Mezzo-soprano
Lady Bertram Contralto
Sir Thomas Bertram Baritone
Maria Bertram Soprano
Julia Bertram Mezzo-soprano
Edmund Bertram Baritone
Aunt Norris Soprano
Mary Crawford Coloratura soprano
Henry Crawford Tenor
Mr Rushworth Tenor


Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

Royal Academy Opera (Hana Zushi)

Heritage Opera (Jonathan Dove)

Heritage Opera (Jonathan Dove)


Chapter Five: In the Wilderness

Chapter Eleven: A View of a Wedding seen from the Shrubbery at Mansfield Park

Chapter the Last

Live Archive Recording, Royal Academy Opera. • By kind permission of Royal Academy Opera.




For further information


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