Thea Musgrave

Mary, Queen of Scots

Power. Treachery. Passion. Murder. Family.

15 Feb–18 Feb 2025

Making its ENO premiere, this critically acclaimed modern opera set 500 years ago tells the story that still resonates today. With hostile forces on every side, Mary I of Scotland attempts to secure a happy future for herself and her country.

One of Scotland’s most esteemed composers, Thea Musgrave captures the drama in a thrilling, atmospheric score rooted in the rough-hewn Highlands of Elizabethan times.


Caught between her drunken husband, her scheming half-brother, and her untrustworthy lover, Mary I of Scotland must find a way to protect her country and her Catholic faith.

Each new conversation reveals a treacherous twist as she is betrayed or misled by those closest to her. Until finally a terrible miscalculation causes her to fall into the arms of her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth I.


Thea Musgrave writes music and libretto that is as beautifully crafted for voices as for the drama. Her orchestral textures are deftly detailed, at times evoking Elizabethan Scotland.

This provides the backdrop for characters who are both musically as well as dramatically believable while cleverly building tension. As critic Harold Rosenthal notes, Musgrave’s music is both original and accessible.

Creators & Singers

Conducting this modern masterpiece is Joana Carniero, who makes a welcome ENO return after she conducted The Handmaid’s Tale in 2022 and 2024.

Soprano Heidi Stober will bring Musgrave’s radiant melodies to life on stage as Queen Mary. She will be joined by two former ENO Harewood Artists Alex Otterburn as James Stewart, Earl of Moray and Nicky Spence as James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Also making a welcome return is bass Alastair Miles as Lord Gordon.

Libretto by Thea Musgrave based on Amalia Elguera’s play Moray.

Running Time
2hrs 35mins

There is one interval.


We have an Access Scheme for our audiences with a disability, a health condition, or different access needs to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Tickets start at just £10 plus £3.75 booking fee and £1.50 building levy per ticket. A maximum of £10.50 per transaction is charged.
Sung in English with the words displayed above the stage (Surtitles).

For more information, please contact our box office on 020 7845 9300 or [email protected]

Mary, Queen of Scots Opera Creative Team 2025

Joana Carneiro


Thea Musgrave


Mary, Queen of Scots Opera Cast 2025

Heidi Stober

Queen Mary

Alex Otterburn

James Stewart, Earl of Moray

Rupert Charlesworth

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley

Nicky Spence

James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell

Barnaby Rea

David Riccio

Darren Jeffery

Cardinal Beaton

Alastair Miles

Lord Gordon

Ronald Samm

Earl of Ruthven

Jolyon Loy

Earl of Morton