Delius’s only verismo opera sees the soldier Thibault recognise his first love in a brothel. The girl he once knew as Marguerite is now Margot, and the lover of a pimp. Blending the lyrical beauty for which Delius is famed, with the passion and drive of Italian opera, Margot la Rouge is an intoxicating and gripping drama.

In the second opera of the evening, Puccini’s early opera Le Villi, Anna – abandoned and forgotten by her sweetheart, Roberto – dies of a broken heart. When he returns, penniless and repentant, Anna and the Willis, the haunted spirits of abandoned brides, lure him into a fatal dance. With soaring melodies, this fantasy of heartbreak and supernatural revenge launched Puccini’s career as the greatest musical dramatist of his era.