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Delius 150th: festival features and new film

(May 2012)

Delius's 150th year is celebrated at leading summer festivals, including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival, and with a new feature film on the composer by John Bridcut.

The festival season brings high profile Delius performances to celebrate the composer’s 150th anniversary of birth. The BBC Proms features Delius in both the First Night and Last Night with two Whitman settings: Sea Drift with Bryn Terfel (13 July) and Songs of Farewell (8 September), with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductors Mark Elder and Jirví Bevlohlávek respectively. The Edinburgh Festival is launched in epic style with a sold-out performance of Delius’s pantheistic Nietzsche oratorio A Mass of Life, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis (10 August).

A new feature-length film documentary, Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma, was screened on BBC4 TV for the first time in May. John Bridcut explores the years Delius spent travelling away from England to Florida, Scandinavia, Germany and France. This offers a filmic reappraisal for the composer who has been locked into the image of the elderly composer, immortalised by  Ken Russell in his classic film Song of Summer. The new film shows the younger composer as a cosmopolitan figure, absorbing musical, poetic and artistic influences well outside the English orbit.

Other recognitions of Delius’s anniversary in 2012 range in scale from a UK postage stamp adorned with his portrait, to a full staging of his greatest opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet, at the Wexford Festival in October. The opera was also revived in a new production at the Karlsruhe Staatstheater in January, described by DPA Focus as “a triumph for both Delius and the theatre”.

A concert performance of A Village Romeo and Juliet takes place at the Southbank Centre in London on
25 September conducted by Ronald Corp. Other Delius events in the UK include features at the Cheltenham and Three Choirs Festivals, a British Library study weekend in September, and A Delius Celebration in October presented by Chetham’s School of Music with concerts in Manchester and the composer’s birth city of Bradford.

> Visit the Delius Trust 2012 website


> Further information on Work: Sea Drift



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