britten

Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: Britten’s Masterpiece Shakespeare Adaptation, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Premiering on June 11, 1960, at the Aldenburgh Festival, Benjamin Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has become one of the most renowned Shakespeare adaptations in the opera canon. The three-act work has been recorded time and again and stands as one of Britten’s most renowned works, alongside “Peter Grimes” and “Billy Budd.” Short Plot Summary Oberon, the King of Fairies, is quarreling with his lover Tytania over a young boy…
Opera For Beginners
Opera Profile: ‘Peter Grimes,’ Britten’s Masterpiece
Benjamin Britten wrote a number of well-regarded operas, but his undeniable masterpiece is “Peter Grimes.” The work, which premiered on June 7, 1945, remains one of the most influential operas of all time for its musical brilliance but also dramatic weight. It features one of the most complex characters in the canon. The work was a massive success from its first performance and has remained one of the major operas in…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera Di Roma 2017-18 Review – Billy Budd: Company Premiere of Britten Masterwork Given Pitch-Perfect Production
The central drama in “Billy Budd” unambiguously rotates around the relationships between Seaman Billy Budd, Captain Vere, and the Master-at-Arms, John Claggart. However, the exact nature of the relationships and the psychological motivations upon which they are founded are shrouded in a white mist, opening up the possibility for directors to pursue a variety of valid interpretations. Many recent productions have focused on the homoerotic impulses that are imbedded in…
In Review Stage Reviews
Teatro Real De Madrid 2017-18 – Gloriana: Anna Caterina Antonacci & David McVicar Team Up For Sensational Revival of Neglected Britten Work
Benjamin Britten’s “Gloriana” was supposed to be one of his great triumphs. The composer himself is quoted, prior to its premiere in 1953, that he saw it as his best work to that point (he had already written “Billy Budd” and “Peter Grimes,” mind you). It was composed for the regal occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It was one of his greatest failures. Critics destroyed the opera less because…
In Review Stage Reviews
Prague National Theatre 2017-18 Review – Billy Budd: Britten Masterwork Capsizes In a Sea of Questionable Direction
Herman Melville, E.M. Forster, Eric Crozier and Benjamin Britten all believed that "Billy Budd" was set at sea. Czech theatre director Daniel Špinar thinks otherwise. His new four-act production of Britten’s psychologically fascinating, demonstrably homoerotic and deeply disturbing drama for the National Theatre in Prague had as much to do with HMS Indomitable as "Madama Butterfly" moved to Mozambique. In the Prologue, Vere sings “Confusion, so much is confusion!” which is…
High Notes On This Day
Five Best Opera Recordings Under the Baton of Benjamin Britten
English composer Benjamin Britten holds a reputation as one of the most prolific figures in 20th-century music. With a massive centennial celebration held worldwide just four years ago, his legacy is still preserved today as opera houses around the world continue to stage his legendary pieces. Britten was born on Nov. 22, 1913, and not a day has gone by where his influence isn’t seen somewhere in the classical music realm.…
In Review Stage Reviews
Des Moines Metro Opera Review 2017 – Billy Budd: Zachary James Illuminates Britten Masterwork With His Own Masterpiece Interpretation
If you surveyed the most recent 1,000 opera reviews, “testosterone” would not be one of the top hits. Unless you were Googling the Des Moines Metro Opera’s new production of "Billy Budd," which promises to be the hit of its 45th season. Energized by the transformative performance of Zachary James as the “villain” John Claggart, this story is about much more than the conflict between good and evil. In this…
In Review Stage Reviews
Theater Bonn Review 2016-17 – Peter Grimes: José Cura Shifts The Blame On Main Character, Concocting An Engrossing Production
The starting point for any production of Peter Grimes lies in the interpretation of the opera’s central character, namely Peter Grimes himself: to what extent should the audience be encouraged to view the anti-hero as an outsider, a victim of the underlying, but all-pervading intolerance and hypocrisy which saturates the Borough, rather than simply as a sadistic sociopath? Clearly, any production of note will include elements of both, but deciding…
DVD and CD Releases News
CD/DVD Releases -Week of April 17: Christiane Karg and Christian Gerhaher Headline New Releases
Two distinct solo albums headline this week's new releases. Christian Gerhaher will take on a journey through a song cycle while Christine Karg will take you on a poetic journey. Johannes Brahms' "Die schöne Magelone" Sony Classical releases a Brahms song cycle featuring baritone Christian Gerhaher, together with his long-time piano partner Gerold Huber. The cycle in question is "The Beautiful Magelone," which was composed in the 1860s. A unique…