‹ Back to What's On Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball)

3 Feb - 24 Mar 2018

Giuseppe Verdi's timeless tale of power, passion and political plotting
Part of Fatal Passions

At the heart of Un ballo in maschera is a tragic love triangle and ultimately, a lethal vendetta. This intense opera is inspired by the real-life assassination of King Gustavus of Sweden in 1792. Gustavus secretly loves Amelia, the wife of his most loyal ally, Anckarstroem. When Anckarstroem discovers the affair, he joins a plot against Gustavus which culminates in a murderous masked ball.

Dramatic arias jostle with tense ensembles and rousing choruses, and at the heart of the piece is one of Verdi's most impassioned love duets. An all-star team brings this masterpiece to Opera North for the first time: former Music Director Richard Farnes returns to conduct this new production by Tim Albery, and Rafael Rojas, who appeared in the acclaimed Opera North productions of Andréa Chenier and Turandot, takes the lead role.

Supported by a generous gift from the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation.

Running Time

Approximately 2 hour 35 minutes


Sung in Italian with English titles

Pre-show Talks

Pre-show talks take place in the Howard Assembly Room and run from 6pm until 6.30pm.

Thu 22 Feb
Book Now
Tue 27 Feb
Book Now
Fri 2 Mar
Book Now


The Music

What the critics say

Opera North’s former Music Director returns in triumph to deliver a wonderfully imaginative account of the score, marked by both poetic delicacy and electric drama.

The Telegraph - Full Review ›

Albery’s focused direction and the cast’s firmness of dramatic intent bring integrity...Richard Farnes once again asserts his credentials as one of the leading Verdi conductors of our day.

Financial Times - Full Review ›



  • King Gustavus Rafael Rojas
  • Count Anckarstroem Phillip Rhodes
  • Amelia Adrienn Miksch
  • Ulrika Arvidson Patricia Bardon
  • Oscar Tereza Gevorgyan
  • Count Ribbing Dean Robinson
  • Count Horn Stephen Richardson (ex 22 and 27 Feb)
  • Count Horn John Savournin (22 and 27 Feb)
  • Christian Richard Mosley-Evans
Creative Team
  • Conductor Richard Farnes
  • Director Tim Albery
  • Set and Costume Designer Hannah Clark
  • Lighting Designer Thomas C. 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. 

Download Menu | Book online

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. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

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

Salford Quays

Find Us

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

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


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.

What you say

Comment from Paul Digby


Paul Digby said ago

An absolutely fantastic performance last evening. All soloists were in magnificent voice as was the chorus. Wonderful music too. Thank you ON.

Raphael Rojas was strong, firm in tone with good timbre and Adrienn Miksch has a beautiful voice and was excellent in her top register. The last minute or so of Act 111, was so well sung and acted, it made my body tingle with emotion. The only other opera to do this was in the first act of Tosca.

Well worth the risky snowbound trip from Sheffield. Would love to experience 'The Ball' again.

Thanks again for the evening,


Comment from Alastair Davidson


Alastair Davidson said ago

Ballo was superb, particularly the orchestra(as usual) and Adrienn Miksch a real find. I hope Opera North engages her for future productions.

Comment from simon


simon said ago

good noise from the band and great to see Richard Farnes back. would that the director had been as good as the conductor. pretty heavy-handed direction that missed the weird tones of the piece. and what was that design about? a ballroom with more benches than a classroom... should have been called A Lesson in Fancy-dress

Comment from James from London


James from London said ago

An excellent evening, a simple and very effective production. I loved the Ball scene, very clever concept.

Band on great form, especially the cellos and double basses.

Chorus has limited exposure but was very good.

All 4 soloists great, I particularly liked Patricia Bardon in such a big voice role. The soprano a real discovery too.



Leave a comment

Un ballo in maschera is based on the real life assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792. Gustavus is a ruler plagued by his conscience and dedicated to his job, but has a guilty secret: he is in love with his closest friend Anckarstroem’s wife, Amelia. What’s more, he has enemies, and there is a murderous conspiracy brewing.  

Through visiting the fortune-teller Ulrika in disguise, Gustavus learns that Amelia loves him too, but also that the man who next shakes his hand (who turns out to be Anckarstroem) will be his killer. He follows Amelia later that night, and both confess their love, but Anckarstroem arrives and jumps to the conclusion that his best friend and his wife have been having an affair. He vows revenge and joins the plot to assassinate the king…

The conspirators draw lots to decide who will deal the fatal blow at the king’s masked ball, and Anckarstroem is chosen. The king, meanwhile, has decided to give up his forbidden love for Amelia and send her and her husband away. But it’s too late – his fate is sealed…