Two glorious country venues
Bampton Classical Opera has appeared at a number of major venues and festivals including the Theatre Royal Bath (Bath Shakespeare Festival), Buxton Opera House (Buxton Festival) and the Pittville Pump Room (Cheltenham Festival). Each year we promote our own productions at our two much-loved regular country venues, Bampton Deanery and the grounds of Westonbirt School, as well as Oxford concerts at the Holywell Music Room and London concerts at venues including St John’s, Smith Square and Wigmore Hall.
Please note we have no dress code – please wear whatever you feel most comfortable in! Warm clothing and maybe even a blanket are recommended for outdoor events.
The Deanery at Bampton, a small and attractive stone-built town enviably placed between the southern Cotswolds and the Thames, was originally built in the twelfth century for the bailiffs of the Bishops of Exeter. Containing tantalising remains of its original underground chapel, the house is mostly of the 17th century, and with its beautiful gardens and its situation in the shadow of the grand medieval church of St Mary, it forms an idyllic and quintessentially English setting. A curved yew hedge encloses the opera stage, creating a delightfully informal and much-loved venue with excellent natural acoustics. Bampton, famed also for its ancient Morris-dancing tradition, is placed a few miles from Burford, Witney and Faringdon, and is easily accessible on the A40 from Oxford and London to the east, and from Cheltenham to the west.
Westonbirt School, situated on the A433 about three miles south of Tetbury in southern Gloucestershire and close to Highgrove House, occupies one of the most sumptuous Victorian country houses in Britain. Designed by Lewis Vuillamy in 1863 for the millionaire industrialist R.S. Holford, the colossal and superbly sculpted house in an ornate Jacobean style is set in exquisite terraced Grade I listed gardens; part of the original estate grounds now form the famous Arboretum. The buildings and grounds comprise a spectacular and picturesque setting for opera which is sometimes played against the arcaded backdrop of the Orangery wing. The hour-long picnic interval gives ample opportunity to explore this delightful venue.