Local singers will be joining talent from around the world at this year’s Dorset Opera Festival.

The 2014 event promises to be special as it marks the festival’s 40th anniversary.

When HRH The Prince of Wales attended the first performance of what turned out to be the fledgling Dorset Opera in 1974, little did conductor Patrick Shelley, producer Robert Glen and chorus master Augusta Miller know they would be setting the foundations for a major international opera festival. 

Now, four decades on, the 2014 Dorset Opera Festival under the artistic directorship of Roderick Kennedy, celebrates this special anniversary with the publication of a coffee-table book, an exhibition, its renowned Summer School, and performances of the highest quality opera – Aïda and Fidelio – involving young people and famous soloists from around the world that this year include: American bass-baritone Mark S Doss, singing Amonasro in Aïda and the evil Pizarro in Fidelio; Hungary’s most famous bass, András Palerdi, who takes on the roles of both Ramfis in Aïda and Don Fernando in Fidelio; the superb Scottish soprano Lee Bisset as Leonore in Fidelio; and the incredible Italian tenor Lorenzo Decaro as Radamès in Aïda. It takes place from July 22 at the Coade Theatre in Bryanston, Blandford Forum.