Antonio e Cleopatra

Wed 13 - Fri 22 July 2022

A Buxton International Festival Production

Johann Hasse (1699 –1783)

Johann Hasse was one of the most prominent and revered composers of his lifetime and was hailed as ‘superior to all other lyric composers’ by the
18th-century music critic Charles Burney. His music, characterised by its melodic beauty and formal balance, was performed across Europe with his operas and oratorios filling theatres in Dresden, Naples, Venice, Vienna and Warsaw. Following his death, his reputation receded, and his work has been largely forgotten by modern audiences. This production provides a rare opportunity to enjoy the splendour of Hasse’s music, which so captivated listeners nearly three centuries ago.

Antonio e Cleopatra was one of Hasse’s earliest Italian works and was first staged in 1725 to an elite audience near Naples. The melodic score and deft characterisation made it an instant hit. The historical tale is relayed as a serenata, through an emotional conversation between Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. The two characters deliberate their future in the wake of their defeat by Rome, with Mark Antony declaring that his love for the Egyptian Queen means more to him than the throne. Whilst Cleopatra reciprocates his feelings, she fears she will lose her freedom because of the Roman victory. She would rather die than be a slave, and so the pair agree a suicide pact.

Soprano Ellie Neate sings the role of Cleopatra. Recent highlights include Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with the British Youth Opera/Silent Opera and La Fée at the Guildhall School. Mezzo-soprano Thalie Knights’ most recent highlights include the title roles in Handel´s Agrippina at Dartington Arts Festival, and in Tamerlano for the Cambridge Handel Opera Company.

Musical director Satoko Doi-Luck is a founding member of the baroque ensemble Ceruleo, and most recently visited Buxton with Burying the Dead, a
concert play about the life and music of Henry Purcell in 2018.

Libretto by Francesco Ricciardi. Sung in Italian with English side-titles.

There is no interval for this event.

Creatives & Cast

Satoko Doi-Luck Musical Director and Harpsichord

Evangeline Cullingworth Director

Buxton Festival Baroque Orchestra


Thalie Knights Antonio

Ellie Neate Cleopatra


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