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
'Owen Wingrave' by Benjamin Britten
Libretto byMyfanwy PiperafterHenry James
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 Director
Struan Leslie Choreographer and movement director
Simon Daw Set designer
Sue Willmington Costume designer
Ian Scott Lighting designer
Choristers of Chelmsford Cathedral