Opera in Oborne

Each year in August, St Cuthberts Church is transformed into a theatre for a weekend of sublime music.  Whilst everything ‘back of house’ is carried out by an enthusiastic crew of villagers, the cast are all international soloists in their own right. 

Opera in Oborne aims to make opera accessible to all and encourages first time opera-goers.  Operas are cleverly abridged by the Director, Stephen Anthony Brown and usually last 2 hours including the interval.  Televisions are used to show the audience plot prompts throughout the performances.

​As circumstances allow, additional events are put on over the weekend, or at other times of the year.  Proceeds from the event go to the upkeep of the church.

How it all started

Opera in Oborne began out of a chance meeting between Oborne residents, Sir Robert and Lady Susan Corbett, and the musical director of a group of opera singers. Some years later, when St Cuthbert’s was looking for a fund-raiser, the singers were asked to perform a concert. On a very cold January evening in 2012, four singers and a pianist gave a breath-taking performance of popular arias to Oborne’s residents. Such was the success of the evening that they were immediately press-ganged into returning. 2013 saw another wonderful performance, but the unreliable church heating and the icicles on the pulpit persuaded the villagers that this should be a summer event.
In 2014, to refresh the format, it was decided to produce an abridged opera. With the help of the musical director Gill Ford and the singers, Mozart’s The Magic Flute was decided upon, and a version was arranged by Stephen Brown. On a balmy August weekend, the inaugural Oborne Opera Weekend took place. The Magic Flute was a triumph, and the Sunday concert was as good as ever. All three evenings were sell-out performances.

2019 Programme

Friday 2nd – Monday 5th August

La Boheme

Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd and Monday 5th August 2019, 8.00 pm

The most famous opera of them all, Puccini’s La Boheme.

Everyone loves La Boheme! Whether its the fantastic music, the tears of joy and heartbreak for Rodolfo and Mimi, or the sheer style of bohemian Paris in La Belle Époque, everyone adores this most romantic of operas. If this is your first visit or your hundredth, La Boheme’s emotional charge is irresistible – and you certainly need those tissues!”

Il segreto di Susanna

Saturday 3rd August, 3.00 pm

What is Susanna hiding? Her husband’s suspicions are driving him wild. Will it destroy their marriage?

All is revealed in this hilarious 50 minutes of sparkling opera at its tuneful best by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Writing at the same time as Puccini, Wolf-Ferrari became internationally famous for his beautiful melodies and bubbling comedy. “Il Segreto”, with its contemporary plot and catchy tunes, is a great example of why he was one of the most performed opera composers of the 1900’s.”

The Gala Concert

Sunday 4th August, 6.00 pm

How Opera in Oborne started, the ever-popular gala concert.

Previous years have included favourites such as the Toreador Song, La donna e mobile and  Maria from West Side Story alongside some lesser known, but beautiful arias.

Planning your Visit


St Cuthbert’s Church, Oborne, Dorset DT9 4LA.  Please click here to see a map and to contact us.


Parking will be available in a field opposite St Cuthbert’s. Guests should note that the field is a working field and those who would prefer more formal parking arrangements may wish to use the parking at the Grange Hotel, which is about 200 yards walk from the church.

Dress Code

There is no dress code but most people choose smart casual.


A complimentary glass of wine or soft drink, generously donated by the Grange Hotel in Oborne, will be available 30 minutes before curtain up.


There is no numbered seating for the performances and seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. If guests have a special need to sit in a particular part of the church, please contact us and we will endeavour to organise places accordingly.  Guests should note that the pews in St Cuthbert’s are fine Arts and Crafts woodwork but were made for the sturdier constitutions of Victorian church goers. Guests who would welcome a little more comfort may wish to bring a cushion.

Disabled Access

St Cuthbert’s church provides disabled access via portable wheelchair ramps. If guests would like the ramps to be available, please contact us in advance of the performance. Disabled toilet facilities are available in the village hall about 50 yards from the church.


Tel : 01935 817194



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