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Guildhall Cantata Ensemble

18 May 2016
13:00 - 14:00

Guildhall Cantata EnsembleDirected by James Johnstone

John Blow

Venus and Adonis

Guildhall Cantata Ensemble present the last opera/masque composed for the Stuart court, Venus and Adonis by John Blow.
It was written for a private performance at the court of King Charles II during 1683. Its structure and style show influence from contemporary operas from France, and there is no doubt it inspired Henry Purcell, Blow’s student, to compose his opera Dido and Aeneas.

While English opera was relatively new, there was a long tradition of performing masques at the court, stretching back to the time of Henry VIII. A masque was a spoken play, often with elaborate staging, which contained musical ‘interludes’, made up of solo songs, choruses and dances. Although professional actors and musicians would perform the masque, it was traditional for members of the court to take part in the singing and dancing. This is the case with Venus and Adonis as at the first performance of the opera at court the part of Venus was played by one of the king’s former mistresses, Mary “Moll” Davis, while Cupid was played by the 10-year-old Lady Mary Tudor, their illegitimate daughter.

The story is based on the Classical myth of Venus and Adonis, which was also the basis for Shakespeare’s poem as well as Ovid’s poem of the same name in his Metamorphoses.


18 May 2016
13:00 - 14:00


Hatchlands Park
East Clandon, Surrey GU4 7RT United Kingdom
01483 211474

Booking information

Online booking is available but if you prefer to book tickets by post please download our booking form, complete and send with SAE and a cheque

Lunchtime recitals

Last approximately one hour.

Evening concerts

Last approximately two hours with one interval
during which juice and wine are served.


Wheelchair access available. Please advise in advance.
Please note that tickets cannot be exchanged nor money refunded.
Tickets to recitals and concerts do not include free admittance to the house.
We reserve the right to refuse admission and change the programme and/or instrument without notice.
It may not always be possible to admit latecomers to the Music Room.

Stiletto heels should not be worn.