Belcombe Court, Belcombe Road, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1LZ. Call 07834 896 823


Formerly known as Iford Arts, If Opera launches its inaugural season within the spectacular grounds of Belcombe Court.

If Opera is different in a number of ways, but above all it is an ensemble. It aims to bring opera into the fabric of our everyday lives, to create shows that have an impact long after the applause ends and to spark a love of opera in the hearts and minds of those who are yet to experience it.

The 2022 season brings you the now famous Picnic Proms, operas La Rondine by Puccini, and the comedic double bill Rita by Donizetti and Il Segreto di Susanna by Wolf-Ferrari – all performed in a purpose built, fully covered theatre of nearly 400 seats within the grounds of Belcombe Court. It’s a special place for a special festival, right in the heart of Bradford on Avon and we’re delighted to host another year.

Three acts coming to Belcombe Court

Picnic Proms

August 19th, 2022 – SOLD OUT!

Spend a perfect summer’s evening listening to sublime music whilst picnicking in the stunning setting of Belcombe Court. Roam the exquisite grounds and immerse yourself in music within this unique setting. Always extremely popular, this sells out fast so early booking is recommended.

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La Rondine by Giacomo Puccini

August 26th, 29th, 31st and September 3rd 2022

La Rondine is a lavishly moving tale of love and heartbreak – and what else you may ask, is opera about?

Puccini composed some of the most famous and popular operas in history, ranging from Madama Butterfly to Turandot (of Nessun Dorma’ fame) but this was something a little different in its construction. It is often thought of as his ‘operetta’, lighter and more frivolous, yet that would be doing it a disservice. It does have that ‘West End show’ dimension, with dizzying bar scenes and choruses, and young love spread liberally among the characters, but at its heart the opera is about the doomed love of Magda and Ruggero. The warm, glitteringly sumptuous melody in which this opera is bathed means the desolation of the story’s conclusion ultimately brings audiences to our knees, helpless in the face of the final crushing scene.

Bruno Ravella, a previous favourite at Iford Arts and fresh from extraordinary acclaim for his Rosenkavalier at Garsington in 2021 will direct this production with Oliver Gooch conducting the Bristol Ensemble. One of the most satisfying, memorable nights in a theatre that you can experience.

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Rita & Il Segreto di Susanna

August 27th and 30th 2022

A double bill of Rita by Donizetti Sung in English & Il Segreto di Susanna (Wolf-Ferrari) Sung in Italian with English subtitles. This duo of one act comedic operas presents a glorious representation of married life in one form or another – each with their own dark shadows lurking in the background.

Rita, the somewhat tyrannical inn-owner and wife of Peppe is shocked by the return of her former husband Gasparo who she had thought dead by drowning (he had run away to far-off lands). Gasparo is back to acquire the death certificate of Rita so he can remarry – because he thought she had too had died. In the middle is poor Peppe who wants out, and perhaps Gasparo’s return provides the opportunity? The opera is a comedy of deceit and ill-manners (it was originally called The Beaten Husband which tells you something of Rita’s inclinations) but it glitters with Donizetti’s trademark vivacity, formed around 8 core musical ‘numbers’ connected by spoken dialogue. The opera has, in the past few decades become one of the most frequently performed of Donizetti’s short operas.

Il segreto di Susanna (Susanna’s Secret) is a simple comedy of confusions. Conte Gil returns home to the smell of tobacco – and suspects his beautiful wife Susannah has a lover. The outrageous ways in which Gil seeks to discover the existence of another man whilst his wife tries desperately, with the help of their servant, to conceal her real secret, produce a riotous evening suffused with some absolutely gorgeous music. Wolf-Ferrari shot to fame with this perfect little opera and it remains a popular part of the repertoire across the world.

If Opera welcomes two brilliant young directors for this double bill; Lysanne van Overbeek and Daisy Brown.Taken together the two operas provide a genuinely satisfying evening, both musically and from a dramatic-comedic point of view. Cast entirely from our ensemble, it is not to be missed.

For more information and tickets visit

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