Britten's Church Parables

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01Britten 10020131123

On the face of it, Britten's Three Church Parables, composed in the 60s with their fusion of east and west, might be a sorry attempt to jump on a trendy bandwagon. But they are a triptych of beguiling one-act operas whose individual sound worlds are uniquely Britten's.

Curlew River, the first Parable, takes elements of traditional Japanese theatre and court music which so impressed Britten on his 1956 world tour and transplants them to East Anglia to tell the story of a woman driven mad by the loss of her child. The Madwoman, as with each principal tenor role in the Parables, was written for Peter Pears and here is sung by James Gilchrist.

Rarely presented as a group of three, these critically acclaimed performances were recorded at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in Orford Church, the place for which they were originally written.

Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: Curlew River

The Madwoman.... James Gilchrist (tenor)

The Abbot.... Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

The Ferryman.... Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director)

The Burning Fiery Furnace is tomorrow at 2.00 pm.

01Britten 10020131123

On the face of it, Britten's Three Church Parables, composed in the 60s with their fusion of east and west, might be a sorry attempt to jump on a trendy bandwagon. But they are a triptych of beguiling one-act operas whose individual sound worlds are uniquely Britten's.

Curlew River, the first Parable, takes elements of traditional Japanese theatre and court music which so impressed Britten on his 1956 world tour and transplants them to East Anglia to tell the story of a woman driven mad by the loss of her child. The Madwoman, as with each principal tenor role in the Parables, was written for Peter Pears and here is sung by James Gilchrist.

Rarely presented as a group of three, these critically acclaimed performances were recorded at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in Orford Church, the place for which they were originally written.

Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: Curlew River

The Madwoman.... James Gilchrist (tenor)

The Abbot.... Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

The Ferryman.... Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director)

The Burning Fiery Furnace is tomorrow at 2.00 pm.

02Britten 10020131124

The second Church Parable is the Old Testament story of the triumph of the Israelites Ananias, Misael and Azarias over the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who singularly fails to make them renounce their faith. The humour and virtuoso handling of the chamber forces, including alto trombone, make it the most fun and approachable of the Parables. As in the first Parable, Britten creates a fusion of East and West but this time the sound world owes more to Balinese gamelan than the Japanese-infused Curlew River.

James Gilchrist sings the arrogant, petulant, and ultimately penitent Nebuchadnezzar in Mahogany Opera's acclaimed production recorded in the place for which it was written, Orford Church. Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: The Burning Fiery Furnace

Nebuchadnezzar.... James Gilchrist (tenor)

Astrologer.... Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

Ananias.... Samuel Evans (baritone)

Misael.... John McMunn (tenor)

Azarias.... Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director)

The Prodigal Son is tomorrow at 2.00 pm.

02Britten 10020131124

The second Church Parable is the Old Testament story of the triumph of the Israelites Ananias, Misael and Azarias over the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who singularly fails to make them renounce their faith. The humour and virtuoso handling of the chamber forces, including alto trombone, make it the most fun and approachable of the Parables. As in the first Parable, Britten creates a fusion of East and West but this time the sound world owes more to Balinese gamelan than the Japanese-infused Curlew River.

James Gilchrist sings the arrogant, petulant, and ultimately penitent Nebuchadnezzar in Mahogany Opera's acclaimed production recorded in the place for which it was written, Orford Church. Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: The Burning Fiery Furnace

Nebuchadnezzar.... James Gilchrist (tenor)

Astrologer.... Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

Ananias.... Samuel Evans (baritone)

Misael.... John McMunn (tenor)

Azarias.... Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director)

The Prodigal Son is tomorrow at 2.00 pm.

03 LASTBritten 10020131125

A Mahogany Opera production of The Prodigal Son, the last of Britten's Church Parables.

The third and last of the Church Parables tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. Benjamin Britten's take on the biblical tale of a farmer's youngest child who leaves his father and older brother to indulge his most secret longings, only to return penniless and destitute and begging for forgiveness.

James Gilchrist sings the intriguing role of the tempter who lures the younger son towards sin in Mahogany Opera's acclaimed production recorded at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in the place for which it was written, Orford Church. Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: The Prodigal Son

The Tempter - James Gilchrist (tenor)

The Father - Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

The Elder Son - Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

The Younger Son - John McMunn (tenor)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director).

03 LASTBritten 10020131125

A Mahogany Opera production of The Prodigal Son, the last of Britten's Church Parables.

The third and last of the Church Parables tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. Benjamin Britten's take on the biblical tale of a farmer's youngest child who leaves his father and older brother to indulge his most secret longings, only to return penniless and destitute and begging for forgiveness.

James Gilchrist sings the intriguing role of the tempter who lures the younger son towards sin in Mahogany Opera's acclaimed production recorded at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in the place for which it was written, Orford Church. Presented by Louise Fryer.

Britten: The Prodigal Son

The Tempter - James Gilchrist (tenor)

The Father - Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)

The Elder Son - Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)

The Younger Son - John McMunn (tenor)

Mahogany Opera

Roger Vignoles (music director)

Frederic Wake-Walker (director).