Bel Canto Opera was founded by its music director, William Bell in 1989, originally as an occasional company to stage the smaller works of particular appeal from the opera repertoire. In 1995 Tom Boyd joined Bel Canto as producer/stage director and librettist, and since then Bel Canto Opera has performed new productions of operas nearly every year.

Bel Canto Opera produces fully-staged live opera with full orchestra, usually six performances principally in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and generally in February/March. The operas are sung in English, with new translations or original English versions by Tom Boyd. The Bel Canto Orchestra is conducted by William Bell. Since 2001, Bell and the Bel Canto Orchestra and chorus have additionally presented concert versions of Verdi operas in Cheltenham in the autumn.

The mixture of experienced professional and talented amateur performers and the production team, who form the nucleus of the company, are primarily located in the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire area, but the casting of principal roles often extends to professional artistes from elsewhere in the UK, Canada and the USA.

Recent productions have included:

(1996) Trouble in Tahiti by Bernstein & Doctor Miracle by Bizet

(1997) Amelia Goes to the Ball by Menotti & The Impresario (Der Shauspieldirektor) by Mozart

(1998) Tosca by Puccini

(1999) Rigoletto by Verdi

(1999) Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck

(2001) Lakme by Delibes

( 2001) concert peformance: Il Trovatore by Verdi

(2002) Martha by Flotow

(2002) concert performance: Nabucco by Verdi

(2003) The Elixir of Love (L'elisir d'amore) by Donizetti

(2003) concert performance: A Masked Ball (Un ballo in Maschera) by Verdi

(2004) The Merry Wives of Windsor (Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor) by Nicolai

(2005) Don Pasquale by Donizetti

(2006) concert performance: Aida by Verdi

(2007) The Magic Flute by Mozart

(2008) concert performance: The Force of Destiny (la forza del destino) by Verdi

Bel Canto Opera is a non-profit organisation which receives no grant and very little financial sponsorship from official bodies, relying on private donations, fund-raising activities, box office receipts, and the invaluable goodwill and voluntary help of so many in order to continue bringing high-quality opera to the Gloucestershire area.

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