Miss Havisham’s Wedding

Dominick Argento

TUE 16 JUNE 2020

Found Season

Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night is a fantasia on Dicken’s Great Expectations.

Miss Havisham  is a wealthy spinster, once jilted at the altar, who wears her wedding dress for the rest of her life. Dickens’s own notes indicate that she is only in her 30s – though in film she is often portrayed as elderly.

The opera monologue gives the backstory to her tragic lonely existence, revealing a most unliberated woman who can’t  “let go” of the betrayal.

Dominick Argento (1927 – 2019) composed the opera in 1979 as a full evening which narrated the circumstances surrounding Miss Havisham’s death, requiring a cast of 19 named roles. In 1981 Argento revised it to create this one-act monodrama.



Thai Duck Salad with Asparagus

2kg duck (not Barbary)
400g slim asparagus
150g mixed salad leaves
2in piece of cucumber
Fresh herb sprigs (e.g. coriander, basil, mint)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1-2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 tblsp nam pla (thai fish sauce) (I use a little less)
Juice of 1 lime
2 red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
2 spring onions thinly sliced


Duck Salad




  1. Night before pour a kettle full of boiling water over the duck and put in fridge patted dry and uncovered
  2. Pre-heat oven to 230oC/ 450F, salt the duck inside and roast for 20 mins
  3. Lower heat to 190o / 375F and rost for a further 1-1.5 hours
  4. Meanwhile cook the asparagus (5 mins until just tender) cut into bits
  5. Make the dressing by crushing the garlic with the sugar in a pestle and mortar
  6. Work in the Nam pla and 2 tlsp each of lime juice and water
  7. Stir in the chillies and spring onions (add more sugar or lime to taste)
  8. Arrange salad leaves on a large serving plate
  9. Pull off the duck skin and pull off the meat. Shred it.
  10. Add the duck, asparagus, cucumber, herbs and some crispy duck skin to the salad leaves
  11. Mix up and scatter over the herbs


Pour over the dressing and mix