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The Merry Widow at Glyndebourne

The Merry Widow at Glyndebourne
Photo by @kentontristram

Marcia Bellamy and Stephen Plaice were commissioned to create a new version of Franz Lehár’s ever popular operetta The Merry Widow for the Glyndebourne Festival in 2024.

This followed Marcia and Stephen’s highly successful adaptation of Offenbach’s Mesdames de la Halle – In the Market for Love, performed at Glyndebourne during the pandemic.

The new production of The Merry Widow is directed by Cal McCrystal, conducted by John Wilson, and designed by Gary McCann. The Glyndebourne Festival run of 17 performances opened on June 9, 2024 to popular and critical acclaim.

Press notices

‘There are genuinely funny moments throughout: many provided by Marcia Bellamy and Stephen Plaice’s scintillating libretto (happily both dialogue and sung text are delivered in English), to which McCrystal has added his own contributions.’
Barry Millington London Evening Standard 

‘The new book and lyrics by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy are expertly crafted…and there is a huge amount to enjoy in this colourful and clever entertainment that stands right at the peak of the entire realm of operetta.
David Truslove Opera Today

It’s a slick, sophisticated staging with a witty, tailor-made English translation by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy…this Merry Widow is this summer’s unmissable treat.’
George Hall The Stage 

‘The new English-language version by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy is great fun…Glyndebourne has here the makings of a classic.’
Jessica Duchen I News

‘The opera is sung in a new English version by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy…with added puns and double entendres by McCrystal… very slick and giving 120 per cent towards hitting everyfunny bone in the body. This audience loved it, which in the end is recommendation enough.’
Richard Fairman Financial Times 

‘The work is presented in English — definitely a good idea — in a witty new translation by Stephen Plaice and Marcia Bellamy.’
Mark Pullinger Opera Now 

‘…a production that is so lush it could have originated from Disney, supplemented by a new English libretto courtesy of Marcia Bellamy and Stephen Plaice…a lavish fin de siècle style triumph…this could well be a hit for Glyndebourne for years to come.’
Dominic Lowe Bachtrack 

See the Glyndebourne website for further details. The new libretto is now available in book form at Parvenu Press and from the Glyndebourne Shop.

Parvenu Press Announces the publication of Stephen’s new novel

The Hardham Divine

Hardham Divine cove


Meet the first Millennials. Ravaged by famine and drought, taxed to the bone, the poor wait for a leader to deliver them. Set in the turbulent years between the first and second Crusades, The Hardham Divine tells the story of Truda, a young Saxon woman, who finds herself the centre of a messianic uprising. Stephen Plaice’s visionary novel immerses the reader in the terror and beauty of medieval Sussex.

Limited Hardback Edition, 520pp, Publication date 31 August 2021

For more information go to:



Stephen has written the book and lyrics for a new musical String with the composer Tony Biggin. The showcase première was given as part of the Hailsham Festival at the Pavilion Theatre in the town ‘in autumn 2021. This version was narrated by the poet Roger McGough, seen here with Stephen.

Stephen with Roger McGough

It played to a packed house and an enthusiastic reception.

A second run of the musical took place in October 2022. This time the show was narrated by actor John Bowler. It played for three performances and was greeted with standing ovations.  

A third run of the show will be presented in Spring 2024, beginning at the Pavilion Theatre Hailsham, then transferring to the Grove Theatre Eastbourne.