A new production for Tour 2013
Given its first ever performance at Glyndebourne in 1946, Benjamin Britten created this opera with the poet Ronald Duncan, who wrote about their collaboration: ‘Britten and I worked at the same desk. We first discussed the shape of the whole drama and then spent several days working over this in order to reduce it to its essential simplicity. We kept our work fluid – even after it had gone to the printer and engraver, much to their dismay.’
The result of this close collaboration is an extraordinary and tightly focussed treatment of a legend which has acquired numerous layers in painting, poetry and drama. Lucretia is raped by the tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, ruler of Rome, and elects to kill herself rather than live with the shame. The action of the opera is commented on throughout by a Male and Female Chorus who occupy another dimension, at times narrating the story and at times voicing the thoughts of the different characters.
The central role of Lucretia is one which engages the talents of a singing actress to the utmost and one with which director Fiona Shaw will empathise keenly, drawing on her own experiences as both a performer and a director.
It was in describing this work that Britten coined the term ‘chamber opera’, creating a work of distilled power and refinement with a cast of eight and an orchestra of 12 players and piano.
Sung in English with supertitles
Supported by Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson
Find out more, and book tickets at the Glyndebourne Website