Britten centenary: Noye's Fludde travels to China
Britten's operas are travelling widely during the centenary celebrations. Noye's Fludde became the first Britten opera in China with a staging at the Beijing Music Festival.
The Britten centenary sees the composer’s music celebrated worldwide including many works receiving territorial premieres, from South America to Asia and the Antipodes. As an upbeat to this year’s events, the first Britten opera was staged in China with a Noye’s Fludde collaboration between Northern Ireland Opera, the KT Wong Foundation and the Beijing Music Festival.
First staged in Belfast Zoo last summer as part of the Cultural Olympiad, Oliver Mears’s production transferred in October to Beijing as part of the UK Now Festival. The KT Wong Foundation’s aim is to foster innovative cross-cultural collaboration between China and the wider world and this was reflected in the Britten staging. Members of the Belfast cast joined the Children and Young Women’s Chorus of the China National Symphony Orchestra, the New Talent School Choir and members of the China Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Chalmers.
Designs were inspired by the Reeves Collection of zoological and botanical drawings, resulting in a spectacular series of animal lanterns handcrafted in Shangdong Province. The production used the biblical tale of Noah to explore contemporary ecological concerns. Through a series of educational projects, Noye’s Fludde provided an illustration of man’s struggle with the environment and the significance of flood mythology to both Chinese and Western cultures.
Overseas Britten highlights in 2013 include territorial opera premieres in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Turkey, Japan and New Zealand and a major Britten in Moscow festival with operas, four concerts by the Russian National Orchestra and an exhibition at the Pushkin Museum. Centenary series were recently announced by Carnegie Hall in New York and by Los Angeles Opera.
In the UK all 14 of Britten’s major operas will be performed, including the Aldeburgh Festival’s staging of Peter Grimes on the beach, and a new Gloriana directed by Richard Jones at The Royal Opera.
> Further information on Work: Noye's Fludde
Photo: Britten's Noye's Fludde staged in Beijing (image K T Wong Foundation)