‹ Back to What's On Giulio Cesare

14 Jan - 16 Mar 2012

Erotic entanglements, intrigue, battles and murder: the passionate romance between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra has inspired the imagination of artists across the centuries. Experience all the colour, drama, passion and epic sweep of a Hollywood blockbuster in this timeless new production of Handel’s great masterpiece.

Egypt, ancient times. Cleopatra uses all her considerable wiles to persuade Caesar to join her in an alliance against her brutish brother Ptolemy, with whom she rules the country. Plots and counter-plots ensue before Caesar and Cleopatra emerge finally triumphant in both love and war.

Sung in Italian with English titles
Lasts approximately 3 hours

What the critics say

Tynan’s Cleopatra...delivers some of the finest, most tasteful baroque singing you will hear anywhere.[...] Albery's version, compiled with conductor Robert Howarth, condenses Handel's three-act structure into two parts, so some losses are inevitable…The gain is a tighter plot with increased dramatic impact.

The Guardian - Full Review ›

…it’s the quality of the singing which makes any opera worth seeing, and the singing in this production is consistently impressive.[...] The most impressive singing comes from Ann Taylor and Kathryn Rudge as Cornelia and Sesto, the murdered Pompeo’s widow and daughter; their duet in Act 1 is marvellous, the two voices beautifully matched.

The Arts Desk - Full Review ›

Tim Albery’s new production for Opera North […] is blessed with some splendid singing and playing under the alert direction of Robert Howarth.[...] (Sarah Tynan as Cleopatra) is a star performance, not to be missed.

The Independent - Full Review ›

Two dozen stunning arias are by turns beguiling, tender, triumphant, menacing or simply storming celebrations of vocal virtuosity…wonderful numbers with admirable musicality and often heartbreaking poignancy.[...] Indeed, several will long live in my memory. They include Sarah Tynan’s outstandingly believable Cleopatra tremendously whispering her despairing music.

The Times - Full Review ›

Opera North have assembled an accomplished cast of singers who not only sound wonderful, but inject power, humanity and sexuality into those ancient characters.[...] The standout performances of the night, however, were given by Kathryn Rudge as the murdered Pompeo’s grieving son Sesto and Sarah Tynan as Cleopatra.

Bachtrack - Full Review ›

Opera North’s presentation of Giulio Cesare was spell bounding from the start to the finish. Although an essentially complicated and involved plot, under the direction of Tim Albery, the thread remained consistent throughout and ensured polished performances from the artists.[...] The Orchestra of Opera North directed by Robert Howarth delivered a stunning performance as a support to the intense drama and passion delivered on stage.

Public Reviews - Full Review ›

Visually, it’s an often handsome show, enhanced by the variety and subtlety of Thomas C Hase’s lighting; and throughout, director Albery conveys the narrative with assurance.[...] Sarah Tynan’s highly physical Cleopatra offers genuine sparkle, her sequence of arias the highlights of the evening.

The Stage - Full Review ›

I don’t think I have seen a staging of this wonderful opera that has taken the characters and actions of Giulio Cesare as seriously as Albery’s does. [...] More than any other production I have seen, Albery’s maintains a perfect balance between the foreground and background of the story.

The Sunday Times - Full Review ›

In a strong cast, Pamela Helen Stephen convinced as a rough, tough Caesar, her debut in this elusive role. [...] [Robert Howarth] instilled the Opera North orchestra with period instrument sensibility. [...] The anguished scenes involving Pompeo’s widow Cornelia (Ann Taylor) and her vengeful son Sesto (Kathryn Rudge) came across powerfully.

The Observer - Full Review ›

Sexual manipulator par excellence, [Sarah Tynan as Cleopatra] her poise dissolves when she meets the invading hero [Pamela Helen Stephen as Caesar]. The moment is beautifully drawn, both singers reeling. [...] Indeed, character development and storytelling are of a high quality. [...] Opera North’s orchestra has adapted well to baroque style, with particularly handsomely playing from the bassoon and oboes.

The Independent on Sunday - Full Review ›

Giulio Cesare is laden with arias, many delivering some mesmeric moments. Sarah Tynan, who is faced with the challenge of tackling Cleopatra, is masterful throughout, her voice absolutely perfect. [...] The end result is a quality piece of opera boasting something very close to the aura of a silver screen blockbuster.

Yorkshire Evening Post - Full Review ›

It is the excellence of James Laing’s counter-tenor, in the supposedly weak character of Ptolemy, that produces such a vibrant presence. [...] Sarah Tynan as Cleopatra dispatches vocal acrobatics with exemplary ability. [...] Neat and well-balanced playing from the orchestra of Opera North was conducted with suitable urgency by Robert Howarth.

Yorkshire Post - Full Review ›

  • Cleopatra SARAH TYNAN
  • Cornelia ANN TAYLOR
  • Tolomeo JAMES LAING
  • Achilla JONATHAN BEST (ex 16 March)
  • Achilla JAMES OLDFIELD (16 March)
Creative Team
  • Conductor ROBERT HOWARTH
  • Director TIM ALBERY
  • Set & Costume Designer LESLIE TRAVERS
  • Lighting Designer THOMAS HASE

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

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North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

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Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal

Salford Quays

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Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.


Find Us

Grand Canal Square
Dublin 2

Important Information

Getting there

Car: Click here to download our Travel Map (PDF)

Parking: Grand Canal Square car park, managed by Q-Park is open. Customers are advised to pre-book their parking spaces and you can reserve a parking space on the Q-Park website.

There is a €10 rate (6pm – Midnight) at the Convention Centre’s car park which is only 410m from the theatre and there are 320 spaces. www.ccdparking.ie

There is also limited on street parking. Other car parks are available at: Connolly Station, the NCI, Dawson Streetand Setanta place (off Nassau Street).

Taxi: The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is located at Grand Canal Square, just off Macken Street/Cardiff Lane, Dublin 2. All taxis will know where we are!

Train: The closest intercity rail station is Connolly Station and is approximately 20 mins walk from the theatre.

Bus: Routes 1, 2, 3, 47, 50, 56a, 77 and 77a all operate to either Pearse Street or Grand Canal Dock, the closest stops to the Venue. The last buses departs at 23.30 hrs, Mon – Sun.

Luas: The closest Luas station is Mayor Square on the Red Line.

DART: The closest DART stations are Grand Canal Dock and Pearse Street Station (both approx 10 mins walk from the theatre)

What you say

Comment from Alc


Alc said ago

It just a poignancy to miss an opera like this. :(

Comment from Guest


Guest said ago

Why have they lopped an hour off it. I would prefer the full monty as given by Rene Jacobs, best version on CD

Comment from Sue Sawyer


Sue Sawyer said ago

The whole production was wonderful, fantastic set, lighting and, of course, Handel's wonderful music - a great pity the evening had to end. An amazing night.

Comment from Michael Rhatigan


Michael Rhatigan said ago

I too have seen the Glyndebourne production, riveting as that was, this production was truer to the music and plot, in fact one of the best productions by Opera North.
The cutting of an hour from the score was well handled, the producer dealt with the conventions of Opera Seria sensibly, concentrating on the singer and no silly stage business, a marked contrast to ENO whose Partenope was ruined by such excesses
Vocally it could not match Glyndebourne in every role, Pamela Stephens was good but did not dominate not helped by a very dull outfit, but overall it was well sung, I would pick out Kathryn Rudge (Sesto) as a star of the future
Only major disapointment was some lack rather lustre orchestral playing, horns had a poor night

Comment from John Crimp


John Crimp said ago

Having seen Glyndebourne's production several times (with Danielle de Niese as Cleopatra) this production was a complete contrast ~ much more serious, with no dancing from Cleopatra. I didn't particularly like the set, though the revolving centrepiece did give some variation.The singing was excellent, with a special mention needed for Ann Taylor as Cornelia and Sarah Tynan as Cleopatra. The orchestra were in good form; it was just a pity that they were too loud in the final chorus, making it almost impossible to hear the singers. All in all,it was an enjoyable performance. If you like Handel's music, get along to a performance soon.

Comment from Cynthia Bowring


Cynthia Bowring said ago

By far the best opera I've seen Opera North produce (I think I'm onto my 5th or 6th now) and I can't recommend it enough. The set was mesmerising and the singing was unrivalled. The orchestra was note perfect.Ptolomy was wonderfully sleazy and Cleopatra the ultimate Venus. Congratulations to all involved.

Comment from Andy Gilliland


Andy Gilliland said ago

An enchanting evening, a wonderful experience.

Comment from Annbrien


Annbrien said ago

This is Opera North's best for some time - certainly the best we've seen since the brilliant Peter Grimes a few seasons ago.
Handel's elegant and at times searingly haunting music, the beautiful if intriguing staging, the singing and acting skills of Sarah Tynan in particular (a cross between sex kitten and state president), the amusing narcissism of Tolomeo - all make this the best night I've had at the opera for a long time north of Watford or this side of the Pond. If you thought Handel was dull and just Messiah, this will make you think again. I'd recommend it to anyone who has a soul, a heart and a spare £20-30.

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The Music

Written at the height of his success, Handel’s sumptuous music is most admired for its brilliant characterisation and power, especially in his lavish music for the role of Cleopatra

Production Info

A highly talented cast is directed by Tim Albery, who has directed some of Opera North’s most successful productions over the past few years, including Fidelio and Cosi fan tutte, as well as a recent critically-acclaimed Tannhäuser at the Royal Opera House.

Did You Know?

Handel's father, a barber-surgeon, had no interest in music and wanted his son to become a lawyer. Dorothea, Handel's mother, encouraged his music so she smuggled a keyboard instrument called a clavichord into the attic, so Handel could practice late at night while his father was asleep.


Leeds Grand Theatre

Any Day

Income support, pension credit, JSA £10 stalls tickets

Family Ticket
50% off for up to 4 under 18s with each adult ticket booked

Groups of 10 or more
20% off plus one free seat for organiser

Monday to Friday

Under 26 and full time students £10 stalls tickets
Retired over 60 10% off
Leeds Card holders 10% off

On the Day
Day tickets – 30 tickets available on the day at 20% off from 9.30am. Best available seats.
Saturday Standby tickets – 25% off to concession holders from 9.30am. Best available seats, proof of status must be shown. 
Maximum 2 tickets per person. 
Available by phone 0844 848 2722 or in person only

BSL interpreted performances
Tickets £13.50 for the deaf or hard of hearing. 
Seats for BSL users have been set aside in the most appropriate areas of the house, please ask the Box Office when you book. 
For more information phone: 0113 22 33 500 or text: 07531 043 671.

Audio described performances
Tickets £13.50 for blind and visually impaired patrons, set aside in the most appropriate area.

Disabled people
25% off (essential carer free).

To book for a performance and touch tour please contact Opera North on: 0113 22 33 500.

The Lowry, Salford Quays

Family Ticket 
With every adult ticket purchased up to four under 16s go half price

Groups of 10 or more
£4 off per ticket + 1 in 10 tickets free. No booking fee

Tuesday to Friday

Full time students £10 stalls tickets with relevant ID

Audio described and BSL interpreted performances
Tickets £15 for visual/hearing impaired patrons, set aside in the most appropriate area.

No booking fee will be charged
Not available online.

Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Tuesday to Thursday

Under 18s 50% off (excludes Gallery)
Students, over 60 and Unwaged £2 off (excludes Gallery)

On the Day 
Standby tickets from 9am 
Concessionary patrons half price
Under 25 £5 (not applicable to gallery seats)

Not available online.

Audio described and BSL interpreted performances
50% off for visual/hearing impaired patrons (set aside in the most appropriate area).

No booking fee will be charged
Not available online.

Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Adult Groups of 8+
20% off

Disabled People
50% off + one essential companion free

On the Day
Standby tickets from 6pm
Under 26 £5 any available Stalls seat
There are 24 tickets available to concession holders for £10 each (max two per person).

Discounts Tuesday - Friday
Under 18 & Registered Unwaged 50% off
Students 25% off
Retired over 60 10% off
School Groups 50% off in the balcony for 10+. One free teacher place per 20 pupils booked.

Audio described and BSL interpreted performances
50% off for visual/hearing impaired patrons (set aside in the most appropriate area)

No booking fee will be charged
Not available online.

All offers and discounts are subject to availability, do not apply for tickets for £5 and under, may be withdrawn and cannot be applied retrospectively. Only one discount per ticket. Proof of status must be shown.