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Queen Elizabeth I

Other operas about the life of the English queen Elizabeth I:

Roberto Devereux - Gaetano Donizetti

Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart) - Gaetano Donizetti

Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth - Gaetano Donizetti

Gloriana - Benjamin Britten

Information about the opera Gloriana by Benjamin Britten, and the best recordings available on CD or DVD, or for download.

Written by Benjamin Britten for the celebrations of the Queen's coronation in 1953, and considered to be one of his greatest operas.


The opera tells the story of Elizabeth I's dilemma between her love for Essex and her duty to sign his execution order.

Recommended recordings on CD

Mackerras/Barstow/Langridge (Argo 440 213-2)

440 213-2

Winner of a 1994 Gramophone award, the first complete recording, and an excellent performance.

Welsh National Opera Chorus, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras, 1992.

Cast: Dame Josephine Barstow (Queen Elizabeth I), Philip Langridge (Earl of Essex), Della Jones (Lady Essex), Jonathan Summers (Lord Mountjoy).

Argo 440 213-2

Buy on CD:

Recommended recordings on DVD

Elder/Walker/Rolfe-Johnson (Arthaus Musik 102 097)

102 097

Recorded live at the Coliseum in 1984, this gives the full score with a superb cast - highly recommended.

English National Opera Chorus, English National Opera Orchestra, conducted by Mark Elder, 1984.

Cast: Sarah Walker (Queen Elizabeth I), Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (Earl of Essex), Jean Rigby (Lady Essex), Neil Howlett (Lord Mountjoy).

Arthaus Musik 102 097

Daniel/Barstow/Randle (Opus Arte OA 0955 D)

OA 0955 D

A moving film version of the original Opera North production directed by Phyllida Lloyd.

Opera North Chorus, English Northern Philharmonia, conducted by Paul Daniel, 2006.

Cast: Dame Josephine Barstow (Queen Elizabeth I), Tom Randle (Earl of Essex), Emer McGilloway (Lady Essex), David Ellis (Lord Mountjoy).

Opus Arte OA 0955 D

Daniel/Bullock/Spence (Opus Arte OA 1124 D)

OA 1124 D

Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, conducted by Paul Daniel, 2013.

Cast: Susan Bullock (Queen Elizabeth I), Toby Spence (Earl of Essex), Patricia Bardon (Lady Essex), Mark Stone (Lord Mountjoy).

Opus Arte OA 1124 D