Edinburgh International Festival: The Beggar's Opera

Important Information

 Please book with Edinburgh International Festival directly on eif.co.uk or 0131 473 2000.

Thur 16 to Sun 19 August | King's Theatre

16 to 18 August 7.30pm, 18 & 19 August 2.30pm

Duration: 2hrs 30mins approx (one interval)

Ticket prices

We offer a range of discounts and concessions to enable everyone to enjoy an affordable visit to the Festival and King's Theatres.

Johann Christoph Pepusch / John Gay

Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord / William Christie / Robert Carsen / Ian Burton

Swarming with highwaymen, thieves, jailors, pimps and prostitutes, John Gay’s savagely satirical and wildly entertaining ‘ballad opera’ invites you into a world of greed, crime, poverty, inequality – and outrageous comedy. Where politicians and officials are just as corrupt as the lowlife below them. And where, if you want to get ahead, all you can do is join them.

Devious gangmaster Peachum is a scammer: he shops criminals to the law, while pocketing the proceeds of their crimes himself. When he discovers that his daughter Polly has secretly married notorious highwayman Macheath, Peachum conspires with his prostitute wife to have Macheath hanged – and make off with his ill-gotten money himself. But they reckoned without Lucy Lockit, daughter of Newgate Prison’s corrupt jailor – herself jilted by Macheath and out for revenge.

This brand new production from Paris’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, resident company at the 2018 International Festival, has been created by two commanding figures across international stages.

Director Robert Carsen has worked in many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and theatres. The production’s original music direction is by William Christie, a pioneering figure in early music and founder of virtuosic Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants.

With an eminent international cast of actor-singers, plus period musicians from Les Arts Florissants, this brand new, contemporary take on Gay’s work delves deeply into the opera’s pungent world of dark wit and double standards – a Beggar’s Opera very much for our own turbulent times.

The Beggar's Opera is part of the residency of the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord at the 2018 International Festival.

Robert Carsen Director
William Christie Concept and musical direction
James Brandily Set designer
Petra Reinhardt Costume designer
Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet Lighting designers
Rebecca Howell Choreographer
Ian Burton Dramaturg

Musicians from Les Arts Florissants
Florian Carré Director and harpsichord

Cast includes Kate Batter, Olivia Brereton, Robert Burt, Emily Dunn, Wayne Fitzsimmons, Beverley Klein, Natasha Leaver, Emma Kate Nelson, Dominic Owen, Jocelyn Prah, Benjamin Purkiss, Kraig Thornber, Gavin Wilkinson

Ballad opera by John Gay and Johann Christoph Pepusch
In a new version by Ian Burton and Robert Carsen

A co-production between Edinburgh International Festival, Les Arts Florissants, Angers-Nantes Opéra, Opéra de Rennes, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Théâtre de Caen; Festival di Spoleto, Centre Lyrique Clermont-Auvergne, Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Opéra de Reims / La Comédie de Reims CDN, Teatro Coccia, Novara, Teatro Verdi, Pisa, Cercle des Partenaires des Bouffes du Nord

Supported by Binks Trust

Performed in English with English supertitles

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