Masque of Might

Henry Purcell

6 October - 16 November 2023

This event has passed.

An Eco-Entertainment

Masque of Might will be available to stream online for free on OperaVision until 3 June 2024.

This world premiere of a witty and satirical new opera sees Sir David Pountney skilfully assemble Henry Purcell’s music to create a fantastical tale of power and corruption. Inspired by the ‘masque’ (a 17th Century variety show), expect song, dance and spectacle!

Diktat is a tyrannical ruler unleashing chaos on the planet. But, as a band of unlikely heroes forms launching a battle of biblical proportions, can a shattered world heal in time?

Masque of Might showcases Purcell’s most beautiful, as well as rarely heard, music – including the spellbinding ‘O let me weep‘ from The Fairy Queen, virtuosic ‘Arise ye subterreanean winds‘ from The Tempest and epic chorus ‘Soul of the world‘ from Ode for St Cecelia’s Day.

“an inventive piece of truly “recycled” musical theatre”
The Guardian

“brilliantly bonkers… a feast for Purcell lovers”
The Times

“outstandingly stylish singing”
The Telegraph

Part of our Green Season.

Supported by the Friends of Opera North.
Masque of Might will be streamed online via our partners at OperaVision.

From £16*

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 25 minutes including one 20 minute interval

Sung in English with English titles

Content guidance
Contains non-realistic depictions of imprisonment, torture, capital punishment and use of guns, and some mild bad language

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.


Now open from Tuesday to Saturday, Kino is our restaurant and bar located in Leeds on New Briggate, presenting the best independent food, wine and beer.

For pre-show dining we recommend booking no later than 90 minutes before the start of the performance.


A scene of magic incantation. Two powerful beings, Nebulous and Elena, look down on the misguided earth where a terrible ruler, Diktat, is coming into being. They call on gods and spirits to shroud the earth in darkness. On earth, two sycophants, Tousel Blond and Ginger Strumpet, honour the new ruler.

The tyrant Diktat reviews a parade of prisoners who have been arrested for climate activism. Nebulous and Scrofulous approach and warn Diktat not to ignore the suffering of the planet. Nebulous gives a graphic account of the polluted state of the earth. Angered, Diktat throws them into prison.

The prisoners sing of their despair and pray for an end to their torment, as a shrouded body is displayed. Diktat reveals the corpse to be Nebulous. Elena laments his death.

Diktat kills a wild boar in a ridiculous feat of machismo, and is lauded as a hero. Elena appears, still mourning the loss of Nebulous, and under duress joins Sceptic to flatter Diktat alongside his supporters.

Sceptic has persuaded Strumpet and Tousel to change sides. They bemoan the circle of empty flattery and lies which surround Diktat and his favoured supporters. Sceptic and Activist meet as conspirators. Sceptic calls for the winds to arise, the earth to shake, and the forces of nature to rise up against Diktat.

Diktat is suffering nightmares. In a state of confusion, he meets a Wolf and a Fox, who tell him that the trees are pleading for the cries of nature to be heard. Diktat claims that their talk of climate doom is a hoax. Sceptic, Activist and Elena invoke the dead to rise and hear the fall of the melting glaciers and see the earth tremble.

Increasingly desperate, Diktat seeks to know the future. He meets a Seer who warns him that all people, even kings, must submit to their destiny. Seer, Sceptic and Elena reveal to Diktat a vision in the form of a play, in which King Saul visits the fortune-telling Witch of Endor and learns that he will lose his kingdom.

Crushed by the vision, Diktat calls on God for mercy. As his power vanishes, he is destroyed, and Elena is revealed as the Queen of the Night. Light returns and the earth begins to heal.

Audio Introduction

This audio introduction gives detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances.

It is 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!

large print transcript of the audio introduction is available to download.

Cast & creative

Callum Thorpe


A woman with short dark hair wearing bracelets.
Anna Dennis

Elena / Witch

A man with curly ginger hair and a beard.
Andri Björn Róbertsson

Nebulous / Activist / Wolf

A man with short hair wearing a shirt.
James Laing

Tousel Blond / Fox

A man with wavy light hair.
James Hall

Strumpet Ginger

Xavier Hetherington

Scrofulous / Toady / Seer / Saul

A man with short hair wearing a black shirt.
Matthew Brook

Sceptic / Samuel

A woman with a fringe with a blonde streak.
Ruby Portus


A woman with long curly hair, a nose ring and an eye brow piercing.
Rose Ellen Lewis


A woman with a pearl earring.
Erica Mulkern


A man with a moustache and goatee, with his hair tied back.
Ben Yorke-Griffiths


A man with short curly hair and a slight moustache.
Jonny Aubrey-Bentley


A man with short hair smiling at the camera.
James Aiden Kay


A man with short dark hair wearing a shirt and jacket.
Harry Bicket


A man with short hair and a mutton chop beard.
Sir David Pountney


Leslie Travers

Set Designer

A woman with long grey hair, thick rimmed glasses and dangling earrings.
Marie-Jeanne Lecca

Costume Designer

A woman wearing a fleece with her hair tied in a pony tail.
Paule Constable

Lighting Designer

A man with short hair and stubble.
Ben Pickersgill

Lighting Designer

A man with short hair and a black shirt.
David Haneke

Video Designer

A woman with short hair stood in front of a brick wall.
Denni Sayers


Masque of Might

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