An opera by the author of Tom Jones

An opera by the author of Tom Jones


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2014

The Lottery

By Henry Fielding

A tale of seduction, delusion and financial corruption.

Musical Director: Žak Ozmo with L’Avventura London

Stage Director: Harry Fehr



Bury Court Opera presents the modern premiere of The Lottery, Henry Fielding’s smash hit

ballad opera of 1732.

The Lottery is the outrageous tale of Chloe, a beautiful but foolish country girl who is

seduced by the bright lights of London. Among other things, Chloe is defrauded by a

crooked stockbroker and taken in by a confidence trickster. The story is brought vividly to

life by L’Avventura London under music director Žak Ozmo with stage direction by brilliant

young director Harry Fehr.

Ballad opera was the most popular form of musical entertainment in C18 England and the

origin of today’s musical theatre. Witty, satirical and subversive, it was opera for the

common man and typically its stories mocked the high moral values of the Italian opera of

that period. Its music was lifted from the most popular operas, pantomimes, and ballad

tunes of the day, reworked to fit funny, satirical plays performed by the public’s favourite


Novelist and satirist Henry Fielding (1707-1754) wrote eleven ballad operas that are among

the best examples of the genre. The Lottery was one of the most popular of ballad operas,

and still in the repertory well into the C19th. In 1727 Fielding’s family were almost

bankrupted by a dishonest stock-broker, so, the humorous depiction of such a stock-broker

in The Lottery was Fielding’s way of publicly shaming cheats in that profession. Coupled with

the financial success of The Lottery, revenge must have been sweet for Fielding.

Žak Ozmo is a Music Director, lutenist, and scholar in historical performance. He is the

Director of period instrument ensemble L’Avventura London, and the Director of Early Music

at the University of Hull.

Dates for 2014: The Fairy Queen, by Purcell. Sat 22 Feb, Wed 26 Feb, Sat 1st March

The Lottery, by Henry Fielding. Fri 28 Feb, Sun 2nd March

Too Hot to Handel, Sun 23rd Feb.