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Owen Wingrave

Aldeburgh Music
15 - 17 August 2014

How strongly would you value your principles, even if they brought you into conflict with your family and friends? Would you put yourself in danger to demonstrate what you believe?

In 1968, as protests against the Vietnam War dominated the news, Britten responded to a BBC commission for a television opera by returning to a theme that had haunted him since the 1930s – pacifism. Using a libretto by Myfanwy Piper – his collaborator on The Turn of the Screw and Death in Venice Owen Wingrave sets Henry James's story of one troubled young man's fight to escape from his family's militarism to music of angry intensity and desolate beauty.

This new production by the acclaimed director and author Neil Bartlett offers a rare chance to reassess this controversial work. A glorious cast mixes leading professional singers – Susan Bullock, Janis Kelly, Richard Berkeley-Steele and Jonathan Summers – with emerging talent from the Britten- Pears Young Artist Programme including Ross Ramgobin and Isaiah Bell. Mark Wigglesworth conducts the Britten-Pears Orchestra in David Matthews's chamber version of the score.

A co-production between the Aldeburgh Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival

a masterpiece

The Guardian

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  • Language: 
    Sung in English with English supertitles
  • Touch tour:
    Sunday 17 August 6.15pm
  • Running time: 
    2 hours and 15 minutes approximately
  • Audio described:
    Sunday 17 August 7.15pm

Supported by
Edinburgh International Festival Friends and Patrons

In memory of
Mrs Muriel Simpson


  • Touch tour
  • Audio described
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    'Owen Wingrave' by Benjamin Britten
    Libretto by Myfanwy Piper after Henry James

    Aldeburgh Music

    Owen Wingrave Ross Ramgobin
    Spencer Coyle Jonathan Summers
    Lechmere Isaiah Bell
    Miss Wingrave Susan Bullock
    Mrs Coyle Samantha Crawford
    Mrs Julian Janis Kelly
    Kate Catherine Backhouse
    General Sir Philip Wingrave Richard Berkeley-Steele
    Ballad singer James Way

    Mark Wigglesworth Conductor
    Neil Bartlett
    Struan Leslie Choreographer and movement director
    Simon Daw Set designer
    Sue Willmington Costume designer
    Ian Scott Lighting designer

    Britten-Pears Orchestra
    Choristers of Chelmsford Cathedral

    This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book.

    The 2018 International Festival will be available to browse online in the spring.


    Grand circle: £35 £28 £15
    Stalls: £35 £25 £20 £15
    Upper circle: £22.50 £15

    Current discounts

    Under 18s: 50% off
    Students: 50% off
    Young Scot cardholders: 50% off
    Senior citizens: 50% off
    Unemployed people: 50% off
    Equity/MU cardholders: 50% off