St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield
9 - 13 January, 2018
By Benjamin Britten
Producer / Musical Director Frederick Waxman
Artistic Director Peter Thickett
Set & Costume Designer Crispin Lord
Lighting Designer Edward Saunders
Marketing Manager Thea Waxman
Curlew River marked a quilting point in the development of Britten's musical style, paving the way for the 'orientalism' that was to pervade his work right up until his death.
Taking his inspiration from Japanese gagaku court theatre and classical Noh drama, which he had encountered during his concert tour of the Far East in 1955, Curlew River emerged as a work poised for the exploration of issues surrounding identity and otherness.
Written amidst an international landscape fraught with political tensions and with the threat of destruction lingering on the brink, Curlew River unfolds as a deeply pathetic meditation on pain, loss and, however eventual, acceptance.