Opera-ballet in 1 Act - 60'

Libretto by Stephen Plaice

A Cultural Olympiad commission from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

devised by Gareth Malone

The theatre that preceded the Royal Opera House on the same site was burnt down about two hundred years ago. The rebuilding within a year was so costly that the prices were hiked up, in part also to pay the exorbitant fees of costly foreign opera performers. The people protested against this, and the increasingly exclusive repertoire of foreign operas, and disrupted performances, demanding things returned to the old ways.

Mr Kemble, actor-manager responded by calling in magistrates to read the Riot Act, a royal decree used to break up protests. This failed, so he enlisted boxers to frighten the crowds, but when this didn't work he was forced to compromise.

Hot House stages these events, combining them with a new opera-ballet 'Il vanto della ruffiana', set in Venice, that is continually interrupted.


Premiere: 22 July 2012, Royal Opera House, London WC2


Director: Thomas Guthrie

Conductor: Geoffrey Paterson

Designer: Rhys Jarman (sets) Lesley Ford (costumes)

Choreography: Sarah Dowling

Lighting: Lucy Carter


Gwyneth-Ann Jeffers, Heather Shipp, Andrew Rees, Richard Burkhard, Gareth Malone (singers)
Gary Avis, Sander Blommaert, Camille Bracher, Thomas Whitehead, Dixie Webb-Heller (dancers)
Royal Opera House Youth Opera Company, Dancers from the Royal Ballet
The Hallé Youth Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House

Madame Catalani/La Zaffetta - soprano

Henry Clifford/ Emilia- mezzo-soprano

Mr Kemble/Alfredo- tenor

Ernesto- baritone

The Chorus Master- tenor

Three Little Magistrates -singers

Daniel Mendoza- dancer

Fire Daemon- dancer

Venetian Gentleman- dancer

Phoenix- dancer

Child-Phoenix- dancer


Chorus of Venetians, Rioters, Audience in the 19th century theatre

Corps de Ballet: Fire Daemons, Venetians, London Prizefighters

Orchestra: 3+23+2/4331/timp/3 perc/harp/piano/strings

 ROH site page and links to articles on HOT HOUSE

Gareth Malone teaches you the finale to HOT HOUSE