Bampton Classical Opera presents one of Gluck's major works, Paride ed Elena, in the picturesque and naturally acoustic venue of the Deanery Garden this weekend.

The performances on Friday and Saturday have been rescheduled from 2020, which marked 250 years since the opera’s premiere in 1770.

It will be given a new English translation by Gilly French as Paris and Helen.

Despite its significance in Gluck’s canon, Paris and Helen is very rarely performed and little-known.

The production will be designed and directed by Jeremy Gray, and the conductor will be Thomas Blunt. Scored for four soprano voices with chorus, and with colourful and exciting orchestration, Bampton’s performances aim to bring this enchanting and sensuous work to new audiences.

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Gluck’s opera charts the passionate and tempestuous encounter between Helen and Prince Paris of Troy.

Paris ardently woos her in a sequence of arias and ensembles, including the much-loved O del mio dolce ardor.

Set in Homeric Sparta, the Trojan prince Paris arrives to seek out Helen, promised to him by Aphrodite when he chose her as the most beautiful goddess and presented the golden apple. Despite Helen’s betrothal to Menelaus, Paris attempts to win Helen with passionate declarations of love. Helen is determined to resist despite the immediate impact the stranger makes on her, but, thanks to the persistent and playful strategies of the disguised Amor, she ultimately succumbs.

In an exciting deus ex macchina appearance, Pallas Athene sternly warns of the fatal consequences of their illicit love, but her words are unheeded as the entranced lovers depart for Troy.

Bampton has gathered a cast including young professionals who are emerging into significant national and international careers.

Singing the role of Paris is the soprano Ella Taylor, who won second prize in the 2020 Ferrier Awards and is making their professional stage debut.

Opposite them as the feisty Helen is Lucy Anderson, first-prizewinner in the 2019 Bampton Young Singers’ Competition.

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Also new to Bampton will be Lauren Lodge-Campbell, causing mischief as Amor, and Lisa Howarth is Pallas Athene.

Bampton Classical Opera, a finalist in the recent 2020 International Opera Awards, enjoys a national reputation for its passionate and enlightened discoveries of rare late 18th-century operas, sung in new translations.

The company works with some of the finest emerging young professional singers and stages productions in rural venues in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire as well as regularly in London at St John’s Smith Square.

Other significant venues and festivals have included Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, Buxton Festival, Cheltenham Festival and Theatre Royal Bath.

2021 performances will follow current government Covid regulations.

Paris and Helen performances, with free pre-performance talks, take place at The Deanery Garden, Bampton OX18 2LL, 7pm Friday 23 and Saturday 24 July.

Tickets at £40 (under 18s half price) can be bought at