Purcell’s very 
last opera gets a 
19th century twist

The Indian Queen
The Indian Queen

Over the May Bank Holiday weekend Henry Purcell’s very last opera comes to Eastbourne, Lewes and Barcombe as New Sussex Opera Chorus present The Indian Queen.

Spokesman Neil Fraser-Smithsaid: “It’s a totally new production with a different twist. When first performed in 1695, it was intended as a masque for a Dryden play, but NSO present a totally-new story of two lovers divided by war: a tale of love, loyalty and longing, plus appearances by Cupid, Fame, Envy and low comics. Acacis is missing and Quivera, waiting for him, fends off another suitor, but for how long? Will Acacis ever return? How long should she wait?

“New Sussex Opera Chorus’ production sets the opera in a 19th-century world of industrial clockmakers, fortune-telling alchemists, and an army of hot air balloon riding spirits.

The Indian Queen contains some of Purcell’s most wonderful music, yet is rarely performed. Purcell died before he had the chance to complete it, and his brother Daniel supplied the finishing touches.

“Purcell’s The Indian Queen is directed by Rachel Hanbury, who is making her NSO debut. She has also worked with English Touring Opera, Opera Holland Park and the Royal Opera House. The show is in costume with orchestra. Nick Milner Gulland conducts the NSO Baroque Players.”

There are three chances to catch the production: Saturday May 2, 7.30pm, Birley Centre, Eastbourne; Sunday May 3, 7.30pm, All Saints’ Centre, Lewes; and Monday May 4, 7.30pm, Barcombe Village Hall. Tickets £16 (£12 students and children). On sale online from www.nsoticketsource.co.uk or tel 0333 666 3366, or in person from Lewes Town Hall (for Lewes performance) or Barcombe Stores & Post Office (for Barcombe performance).

Booking details are on www.newsussexopera.org.