Giulio Cesare

George Frideric Handel

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Cleopatra would die for the throne. But she’d rather kill for it. 

Cleopatra and her brother are vying for the throne when Julius Caesar arrives in Egypt, pursuing an enemy. Seeing the opportunity to tip the balance of power in her favour, Cleopatra seduces Caesar. As their passion soars, Caesar finds himself drawn into a dangerous web of bloodthirsty ambition…

In this ravishing Handel opera, vengeance and desire drive vividly-etched characters through a series of glittering arias – by turns seductive, desperate, triumphant and tender. Tim Albery’s acclaimed production, which has all the colour, passion and epic sweep of a Hollywood blockbuster, returns under the baton of Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn.

‘…integrity and character… immaculate coloratura and stage charm.’
★★★★ — The Times

‘…so much glitters and gleams… full justice is done to the composer in this moving, enlivening evening.’
★★★★ — Bachtrack


£15 to £75*

Running time
Approximately 3 hours 15 minutes

Sung in Italian with English titles

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*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.


Julius Caesar has chased his enemy and adversary Pompey to Egypt, beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. After a decisive battle on the banks of the Nile, Pompey flees into the hands of the Egyptians, only to be murdered at the command of Tolomeo, who rules Egypt alongside his sister Cleopatra. The two siblings are locked in a struggle for absolute power.

Pompey’s widow, Cornelia plots with Sesto, her son, to get their revenge on Tolomeo. Cleopatra seduces Caesar, eager to secure his support and tip the balance of power in her favour. Cornelia’s plot to murder Tolomeo is foiled and she and Sesto are arrested.

Tolomeo has ordered that Cornelia be sent to his harem but a new plot is devised to sneak Sesto in with her. Here he plans to kill Tolomeo when he is alone and unarmed. However, this second assassination attempt is also foiled, this time by Tolomeo’s general Achilla.

During a visit with Cleopatra, Cesare is ambushed by Tolomeo’s agents. Cleopatra implores him to flee but he decides to fight instead. Cleopatra suddenly realises that she has fallen in love. Open-conflict breaks out between Tolomeo’s army and the Romans. Overwhelmed in battle, Caesar leaps from a palace window in order to escape and is believed to have died.

General Achilla plans to defect but is attacked by Tolomeo before he can. Tolomeo’s army appears to have won the battle and Cleopatra mourns both her brother’s victory and Caesar’s death. But Caesar actually survived his fall from the palace window and comes across the dying Achilla, who gives Caesar his seal and the command of his army. Caesar vows to save both Cornelia and Cleopatra.

As the tide of battle turns, Tolomeo attempts to rape Cornelia, but Sesto appears and kills him. Caesar is victorious and declares Cleopatra queen of Egypt, promising to support her and her country.

Accessible information

The following audio notes give detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances. These are to aid customers who are blind or partially sighted. Please note, the story and the details of the sets and costumes contain spoilers, so avoid them if you would prefer not to know what happens!

Error with this block: Cast

*Cast changes: Please note that Maria Sanner is singing the role of Giulio Cesare, replacing Justina Gringyte, and Lucie Chartin is singing Cleopatra, replacing Sophie Bevan.

Giulio Cesare

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