28th February, 2nd March, The Lottery

The Lottery by Henry Fielding

Bury Court Opera is pleased to present, in collaboration with Žak Ozmo and L'Avventura London, 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. The story is brought vividly to life by L’Avventura London (‘terrifically animated, wonderful energy… gorgeous!' - BBC Radio 3) under music director Žak Ozmo with stage direction by the brilliant young director Harry Fehr.

About Ballad Opera And Henry Fielding

Ballad opera was the most popular form of musical entertainment in C18 England and a precursor of today’s musical theatre. Witty, satirical and subversive, it was opera meant for everyone; typically its stories commented on the latest social, political and cultural events, particularly mocking the high moral values – and the music – of the Italian opera that dominated that period. The authors of these works were quality playwrights, such as the novelist Henry Fielding, and the operas mixed popular contemporary and traditional melodies of the time with newly composed music. The tunes were by some of the best known composers of the era, such as Handel, Purcell, Corelli, and others.

Celebrated 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 his most successful works, and it was still in the repertory into the 19th century. In 1727 Fielding’s family were almost bankrupted by a dishonest stock-jobber (that is, a stockbroker), so, the humorous depiction in the opera was Fielding’s way of publicly shaming such duplicitous cheats. Coupled with the financial success of The Lottery, revenge must have been sweet for Fielding.


  • Chloe - Stephanie Corley
  • Lovemore - Stuart Laing
  • Mr Stocks - Nick Merryweather
  • Jack Stocks - Steve McCourt
  • Jenny - Helen Phillips
  • Miss Stocks, Lady, Mrs Sugarsops - Ann Marcuson
  • Coachman, Whisk, Proclaimer - Steven East
  • Footman, Proclaimer - Ross McInroy

  • Libretto - Henry Fielding
  • Original Score - Mr Seedo
  • Music Director - Žak Ozmo
  • Stage Director - Harry Fehr
  • Designer - Naomi Dawson
  • Lighting Designer - Richard Howell

  • with - L'Avventura London
  • Musical Arrangements - Žak Ozmo
  • Score Reconstruction - Žak Ozmo and Vanessa L. Rogers

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.

L'Avventura London is a professional ensemble dedicated to historically informed exploration of the repertoire from C16th – C18th. Critics have praised the group under Žak’s direction for its ‘excellent musicianship’ and 'an admirable understanding of Baroque performance conventions' (Gramophone), and described its performances as ‘engaging, entertaining…an enormous amount of atmosphere and character’ (Opera News). L'Avventura's appearances include major festivals across the UK and international performances as far afield as Brazil. Their performances have been broadcast on national radio stations worldwide.

Harry Fehr was a member of the ROH Covent Garden's Young Artists Programme. He has directed several productions for Scottish Opera, and his Cosi fan Tutte for Opera Holland Park received glowing reviews all round – '...the best thing I have seen all year' www.classicalsource.com.


Our heroine, Chloe, is a naive, silly country girl. Spurning her country boyfriend, Squire Lovemore, she has set off for London believing that her ticket for the £10,000 lottery draw is already a £10,000 fortune to be spent, and telling everyone she is rich.

Mr Stocks is a shady lottery-ticket seller and ‘stock-jobber’ (an unscrupulous stockbroker). Mr Stocks also sells ‘shares’ in his lottery tickets, for those who cannot afford an entire ticket. This leads to an even more unethical practice: he sells the same ‘shares’ over and over again, thereby cheating the buyers. He likes to call his tickets ‘horses’ – just like the betting shops. Some ‘horses’ will be good runners, but most will be duds.

Jack Stocks is a brother of Mr Stocks Jack, and very much like him: dodgy and willing to do whatever necessary to make money. As his latest scheme has fallen through, he comes to his brother for help. Jack agrees to help Mr Stocks with his scheme to bilk a ‘country lady’ (Chloe) who is on her way to town with a fortune of £10,000. The scheme is for Jack to dress up as a gentleman – ‘Lord Lace’, marry her and then take control of the money

After the lottery draw, in which Chloe’s ticket comes up as a blank, ‘Lord Lace’ drops his act – and drops Chloe, too. She is forced to go back to Lovemore, who has pursued her to London, the only man who will have her after she’s made such a public fool of herself.