Date: Saturday 16 November 2019

Time: 7.30pm


Carl Orff wrote his cantata Carmina Burana in 1935-6. It is a setting of mediaeval secular poems, written into manuscripts by monks in the monastery of Benediktbeuern in southern Bavaria in the 13th century. The texts are in both Latin and German, and are lively and very down to earth. Even monkish scribes could get bored while working at the scriptorium!  Orff’s setting matches the spirit of the texts, with lively rhythms and straightforward harmonies, creating a mediaeval effect within a twentieth century musical language.

Orff was passionate about musical education, and wrote a number of compositions and texts to teach music to children: the music is elemental and combines movement, singing, playing and improvisation. These ideas pervade Carmina Burana, which was originally intended to be accompanied by dance, visual design and stage action: this is normally omitted today.

The opening movement, “O Fortuna” is very well known, and has been used in other contexts (e.g. Oliver Stone’s film The Doors). The return of spring is a lively dance; other movements dwell on the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony and lust. There is even a reference to Eleanor of Aquitaine, consort of England’s Henry II: the monk would give the whole world to spend a night in her arms!

The work was first staged in Frankfurt in 1937. The Nazi regime was initially nervous about its style and content, but the work swiftly gained popularity, and has remained in the choral repertoire since then. However Orff was not a Nazi sympathiser, and managed to steer clear of being used by the regime. He was born in Munich in 1895, and, despite being a Roman Catholic, divorced his first three wives, before marrying a fourth time. He is buried at in the Abbey church of Kloster Andechs, south-west of Munich, under a simple marble gravestone which bears his name, the dates of his birth and death, and the inscription Summus Finis (The Ultimate End) – a quotation from one of his works.



Premium £30 - Centre front with full view

Classic £26 - Centre middle with full view 

Standard plus £20 - Centre back with full view

Standard £15 - Centre back with full view  

No view £13 - Mainly located in the aisles or behind pillars. These seats have no view of the stage.

No view seats will only be released when seats with views have sold out.



Concessions are available for Students with ID except on Premium seats.


Wheelchair spaces and carer discounts can only be booked through the Box Office on 01727 890290. Carer goes free.


Doors will open 30 minutes before concert starts. There is an interval of 20 minutes during this performance.