General reviews

... the ever-adventurous Bampton Classical Opera Daily Telegraph, 2016 delightful and diversely entertaining as eighteenth-century opera, in its more modest guises, was always intended to be. TLS, 2016

We have a great deal for which to be grateful to Bampton Classical Opera Boulezian, 2016

Summer-opera performances may abound, but Bampton rings the changes on account of its effective and witty adaptation of some rare repertoire, performed al fresco in a setting which mankind could hardly contrive to make a more harmonious combination of nature and artifice. Classical Source, 2016

That [these] works retain and reward attention is a tribute to director Jeremy Gray Bachtrack, 2016

Once again, company founders and co-directors Jeremy Gray and Gilly French have breathed fresh life into long-forgotten 18th century gems with new translations and their customary sense of fun and mischief. Oxford Times 2016

Specialising in neglected classical repertoire, Oxfordshire’s Bampton Opera is pretty much guaranteed to produce a show you won’t have seen before... What’s unusual about Bampton, though, is the friction it maintains between its growing ambition and its total lack of pretension The Spectator, 2015

an admirable balance between irreverent wit and musical sincerity Opera Today, 2015

Bampton Classical Opera, however, has performed a real service, in mounting the first British staged performances Boulezian, 2014

We talked to one of the founders, artistic director Jeremy Gray, during the interval. He said running the company was a part time role, but I did not believe it! It must take his entire life (and that of his wife Gilly, who is the opera’s co-artistic director) to create something of this standard. Soirées at Breinton, 2014

Few British companies are cannier than Bampton in capturing the flair and the fizz of operas that have tumbled out of the repertoire. Opera Now, 2013

...a cheerful, charming production which confirmed the essential mystery of the ordinary and the inscrutability of the world of love. Opera Today, 2013

Bampton Opera is marking its 20th birthday this year by doing what it does best – unearthing a little-known opera and making a case for its acceptance into the mainstream operatic repertoire. The Oxford Times, 2013

A company truly serious about comedy Opera Today, 2012

… a welcome absence of formality of dress or show-off picnics and the beauty of the Deanery garden, sends it right to the top of my list of, well, ‘country-garden’ opera. Opera, 2012

As always with Bampton Classical Opera, an absolute treat The Oxford Times, 2011

...courageous repertoire meticulously researched and selected Opera Today 2010

Bampton rose to the heights of its own elevated standards Opera 2010

...the uniformly excellent cast that Bampton Opera is so adept at gathering together The Oxford Times, 2010

Once again, a performance by Bampton Classical Opera left this listener amazed that such works are not more frequently performed Opera Today, 2009

A serious business with remarkable artistic standards Opera, 2009

Bampton Classical Opera has an admirable history of devising challenging educational projects Opera Today, 2009

Bampton Classical Opera offers operas that one wants to hear  Opera, 2008

Thank heaven for little opera companies The Independent, 2007

Bampton's inventive daring grows ever more finessed… scintillating… terrific Opera, 2006

Invariably slick, always cleverly imaginative… terrific value for money Opera Now, 2006

...the magnetism of Bampton Classical Opera... The Oxford Times, 2006

Bampton Classical Opera's stagings of comic opera are endless fun; yet Jeremy Gray's and Gilly French's sparkling ensemble has proved it has a nobler mission. Its snappy productions juxtapose the cheeky, the ingenious and the bizarre with a genuine serious concern to make the music tell, engaging gifted young singers and capable orchestral players. Opera, 2005

every idea, move and entry seemed polished, finished, thought through; relevant, deuced clever ….. everything gelled admirably. Opera, 2005

The company has its own style - quirky, witty, zestful – which endows late 18th century opera with rapid momentum, showing a constant empathy with its subject. Bampton invariably scores with musical verve and quick-fire delivery. Opera Now, 2005

Bampton’s calling-card has been founder Jeremy Gray’s spacey, faux-naïve stagings The Times, 2004

Bampton Classical Opera’s imaginative producer-translators have a knack of advancing prodigious young talent Opera, 2004

The epitome of opera-in-a-garden The Times, 2002 and 2003

There isn’t a company in England with as sharp a sense of fun as Bampton. Season after season they dig up rare gems, served up with canny wit, visual deftness and a musical spring that make them one of the high pleasures of an English summer Opera Now, 2003

There's always something good to say about Bampton Music and Vision, 2003

This admirable outfit, brainchild of two Westminster schoolteachers, has for 11 years been unearthing and performing lost and forgotten works The Times, 2003

the excellent Bampton Opera The Evening Standard, 2003

Bampton Classical Opera … has amassed all the ingredients for an ideal medium-range opera company: it has verve and initiative, seriousness and fun… it has its own talented ensemble of singers. But what impresses most is Bampton’s unswerving commitment to staging rare operatic gems of the Classical era. Opera Now, 2002

An intelligent, quirky sense of humour, an eye for detail and directorial tautness have informed all Gray’s recent stagings. Opera, 2002

Jeremy Gray, the moving spirit of Bampton Classical Opera … has the unmistakeable joie-de-vivre of what may, I fear, be becoming an ever-rarer English type – a man simply doing his own thing. The Oxford Times, 2002

Rare 18th century fare is a Bampton speciality, and for this reason alone it deserves recognition Opera, 1999

back to top

Arne – The Judgment of Paris, 2011

...commitment, intelligence and significant musical accomplishment Opera Today


Benda - Romeo and Juliet, 2007

superb... The Independent

evident relish... The Oxford Times

brilliantly engaging... Music and Vision

a real gem Musical Pointers


Cimarosa - The Italian Girl in London, 2011

...stylish and amusing The Daily Telegraph

A thoroughly agreeable evening – what more could one ask? Opera

...beautifully paced and elegant... impressive cast Opera Now

...delightfully funny... strongly sung... spirited style The Oxford Times


Cimarosa - The Two Barons of Rocca Azzurra, 2002

a terrific cast… a laugh a minute The Independent

Bampton’s latest discovery … is performed with their usual carefree ensemble, a product of regular singers who work well together and a relaxed atmosphere. The Times

The work was imaginatively cast. In whatever range, voices matched and balanced, ensuring lustre in the frequent ensembles. The Oxford Times



Haydn – Le pescatrici, 2009

brilliant, racy... We all had a whale of a time Opera

a radiant whole Opera Today

plenty of laughs...strongly cast... impeccable timing and control The Oxford Times


Handel/Mozart – Acis and Galatea, 2007

wit and sparkle… a delightful evening Musical Pointers

well performed The Spectator


Haydn - La vera costanza, 2004

superb in all departments Opera

melting moments that are the best of Haydn The Times

the world, you soon felt, seemed not a bad place after all The Oxford Times

a cast of bold dramatic range and beguiling musical gifts Opera News


Haydn - L'infedeltà delusa, 2004 and 2005

this sparklingly witty evening's entertainment… one of the many strong points was their complete conviction in the quality of the work. Jeremy Gray's direction was mercifully unpretentious, allowing the farce to play for what it is

musical verve and quick-fire delivery Opera Now



Mozart - La finta semplice, 2013

an uplifting and energised evening Opera Now

...impeccably played The Oxford Times

uniformly excellent...discerningly amusing Opera Today

I have no desire to hear a note of it ever again. The Daily Telegraph


Mozart – Apollo and Hyacinth, 2007

… a delightful, spirited evening Opera


Mozart – The Jewel Box, 2006

a real treasure trove: a delicious concoction… Jewels indeed Opera


Mozart - Waiting for Figaro, 2002

an inspired evening... a fresh revelation of genius… everyone excelled The Independent

clarity, intimacy and – a rarer achievement – a communicative warmth that embraces the listener. The Oxford Times


Mozart, Henneberg, Schack, Gerl & Schikaneder - The Philosopher’s Stone, 2001

Jeremy Gray … has built up both a composite team and his own intelligent directorial style, informed by a wry sense of humour The Independent



Paer  – Leonora, 2008

Promising young singers appear in its casts... A  fascinating evening, honestly, decently and ambitiously performed Opera

A high quality cast Opera Now

This  imaginative, focused production... Intelligent, well-paced... Opera Today


Paisiello – The Barber of Seville, 2005

Jeremy Gray’s fast-moving, zestful and colourful production …the action all looked deliciously unlikely, and fuelled many comic mishaps Opera News

Gilly French’s cleverly inventive rhymed translation [was] witty, lucid, always audible and a boon to all the singers… Gray displays a wonderful eye for paradox, sending things up much as Paisiello’s score does, which both typifies and impishly parodies the Italian style Opera

madcap comedy done with the usual ensemble pizzazz that this company musters The Times

great eloquence and joy The Oxford Times

combines fun and sentiment to perfection Manchester Evening News


Paisiello - Nina, 1999

Jeremy Gray’s tidy and compact production, imaginatively updated to a 1930’s hospital setting, worked well thanks to intelligent consistency in sets, props and costumes and a well-marshalled chorus impressively free of overacting Opera

Jeremy Gray's carefully considered staging... taut and focused... well-directed Opera Now


Philidor Blaise le savetier and Grétry L’Amant jaloux, 2012

Musical standards were first-class Opera

A perennial credit to Bampton’s casting The Oxford Times

Jeremy Gray’s direction was adroit, inventive but never fussy Opera Today


Portugal – The Marriage of Figaro, 2010

...spontaneity and freshness... Opera Today

...a gorgeous production... Bampton rose to the heights of its own elevated standards... the nocturnal shenanigans in the garden for once made perfect sense Opera

...witty new translation... uniformly excellent The Oxford Times

...a work among the most interesting and attractive Bampton have discovered Opera Now


Salieri ­ Falstaff, 2003 and 2004

Gray's Bampton productions pry humour from his texts with a consistency and precision that lift them way above the lightweight shenanigans of "garden" opera. Opera News

full of relevant laughs, with Gilly French's slick translations... a joy ...pure magic The Independent

painlessly updated The Times

the lyric singing is uniformly excellent... the true running joke lies in the English translation, by Jeremy Gray and Gilly French, which, with its clinking rhymes and robust English idioms...surpasses even the usual standard The Oxford Times

a gem of an evening… Gilly French's aria translations rivalled the best Amanda Holden quality Opera Now

Thirty-one scenes of sheer joy... Opera

Salieri - Trofonio's Cave, 2015

giddily exciting, propelled by wit, charm and bags of joy... Jeremy Gray’s production starts out as just a pretty period piece — all Gibson Girl frocks and coy glances — but grows into something altogether more anachronistic and anarchic The Spectator

nothing short of magnificent Boulezian

a revelation... zany production and witty modern translation... the music is magnificent Seen and Heard International

lively, inventive... a joy from start to finish The Oxford Times

shone from the very outset Music and Vision


Schubert – The Conspirators, 2009

...warmth, personality and camaderie... a joy Opera

a delightfully entertaining, remarkably confident and outstandingly assured performance of this unjustly neglected opera... shrewdly cast...  tenor Tom Raskin and baritone Edmund Connolly supported and encouraged the young performers sensitively throughout...  a new English translation, brisk and uncluttered, struck an effective balance between detail and dramatic momentum... the deft visual and verbal wit which has come to characterise Bampton Classical Opera’s unfussy, sharp approach... Opera Today


Martín y Soler - La capricciosa corretta, 2006

rewarding TLS

invariably slick, always cleverly imaginative… terrific value for money Opera Now

another triumph... slick staging... style and panache... vocally strong throughout The Oxford Times


Storace - The Comedy of Errors, 2000

Gray shrewdly contrived exactly the kind of visual variety and zip Shakespeare’s original demands The Independent

Lively and slick The Times

Bampton Classical Opera's production put scarcely a foot wrong. Nifty comedy, colourful settings, beautifully contrived send-up, imaginative moves, a real sense of directorial pacing, clear words (in Arthur Jacobs's immensely successful translation) and a clutch of promising voices made this an evening to be savoured. Opera


Divine Comedies: Gluck Philemon and Baucis and Arne The Judgment of Paris, 2016

...fine singing and exemplary comic acting... as eighteenth century opera was always intended to be TLS

...customary sense of fun and mischief The Oxford Times

A lively supporting cast and fine playing from the orchestra Seen and Heard International


Gluck Il Parnaso confuso and Bertoni Orfeo, 2014

...performed elegantly ...directorial wit ...fluently sustained dramatic momentum Opera

a true, and rare, sense of 18th-century style Boulezian

adventurous... strong performances... spirit and commitment... The Oxford Times

But what I loved most was the voices. Indeed the whole production was stories in motion with voices of excellence. Soirées at Breinton


Philidor Blaise le savetier and Grétry L’Amant jaloux, 2012

Musical standards were first-class Opera

A perennial credit to Bampton’s casting The Oxford Times

Jeremy Gray’s direction was adroit, inventive but never fussy Opera Today


Gluck and Mozart – Le Cinesi and Apollo and Hyacinth, 2008 and 2009

Genuine enjoyment and engagement Opera Today

just right... excellent Opera Now

...a triumph The Oxford Times

back to top