Performing Britten

Series focusing on the operas of Benjamin Britten.

John Evans talks to singers, conductors and directors about performances and recordings with which they are closely associated, and about the problems and pleasures of performing Britten.

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
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01Paul Bunyan20070218

Series focusing on the operas of Benjamin Britten.

John Evans talks to singers, conductors and directors about performances and recordings with which they are closely associated, and about the problems and pleasures of performing Britten.American director Francesca Zambello discusses the operetta Paul Bunyan, Britten's first attempt at a stage work, written in America in the early 1940s in collaboration with W H Auden

02Peter Grimes20070225

Tenor Philip Langridge talks about tackling one of Britten's most famous operatic roles, the tormented Suffolk fisherman Peter Grimes

03The Rape Of Lucretia20070304

Dame Janet Baker talks about performing the demanding title role in the chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia.

04Albert Herring20070311

Conductor Richard Hickox discusses his recording of Britten's only comic opera, Albert Herring.

05Billy Budd20070318

Britten expert John Evans talks to distinguished interpreters of Britten's operas about performances and recordings with which they are closely associated, and about the problems and pleasures of performing Britten.

Young baritone Simon Keenlyside discusses his interpretation of the title role in Britten's all-male opera based on a story by Herman Melville and set aboard a British man o' war during the Napoleonic Wars.

06Gloriana20070325

Josephine Barstow talks about performing the role of Queen Elizabeth I in Gloriana, written to celebrate the coronation of our present Queen.

07The Turn Of The Screw20070401

A series in which John Evans talks to distinguished interpreters of Britten's operas about performances and recordings with which they are closely associated and about the problems and pleasures of performing Britten.

7/10. His guest is the veteran director Basil Coleman, who worked closely with Britten during the 1950s. Coleman also directed the premiere of Britten's chamber opera The Turn of the Screw, based on Henry James' famous ghost story, at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice in 1954.

08A Midsummer Night's Dream20070408

He talks to Sir Peter Hall about A Midsummer Night's Dream, first performed at the 1960 Aldeburgh Festival.

Sir Peter directed a memorable revival of the opera at Glyndebourne in 1981, and having also directed performances of Shakespeare's play, is well-placed to discuss Britten's treatment of this much-loved text.

09Owen Wingrave20070415

He talks to conductor Steuart Bedford about Britten's penultimate opera, Owen Wingrave. The opera is based on a Henry James story about a young man with strong pacifist convictions who refuses to go along with his military family's wishes and join the army, with tragic consequences.

10 LASTDeath In Venice20070422

His guest is singer John Shirley-Quirk who in 1973 played the multiple bass-baritone roles in Britten's last opera Death in Venice. Based on Thomas Mann's novella about a dying writer visiting Venice who becomes obsessed with a beautiful adolescent boy he sees on the beach, the opera was Britten's own swan-song, written while the composer was gravely ill.