Barbican Britten: Curlew River

Britten’s dramatic homage to the Japanese Noh play

14 - 16 November 2013 / 20:00
St Giles' Cripplegate


£2 online booking fee, £3.50 telephone booking fee per transaction - click here for more information on booking fees

 Sold out

Britten Curlew River

Ian Bostridge Madwoman
Gwynne Howell Abbot
Neal Davies The Traveller
Mark Stone The Ferryman
Spirit of the Boy/Altar servants Duncan Tarboton, Benji Clegg, Ben Knight
Netia Jones director/designer & Live Video Performer
William Lacey music director
Britten Sinfonia
Britten Sinfonia Voices
Eamonn Dougan
director, Britten Sinfonia Voices

The performances finish at approximately 9.15pm

Britten’s Church Parable Curlew River is a ‘once heard, never forgotten’ work, exploring the themes of community, suffering and redemption through the unforgettable figure of the Madwoman and the loss of her child. Britten was inspired by the austere and ritualized drama of Japanese Noh theatre, and the work is a strange and haunting encounter between a Japanese aesthetic and a medieval mystery play set in the context of East Suffolk, the whole shot through with mysterious, exotic music of exquisite refinement.

This production is by multimedia director and video artist Netia Jones. It features an outstanding British cast led by Ian Bostridge as the Madwoman, alongside Gwynne Howell, Neal Davies and Peter Coleman-Wright, with Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices. Netia Jones’s beautifully abstract minimalist staging and haunting projections will distil the work to its essential elements: the aesthetic is the Japanese one of contrast: black and white; sound and silence; darkness and light; grief and enlightenment.

Alongside the evening performances, during the day on 15 and 16 November the public can also experience Curlew River Echo.  See below for further information.

Cast change
Peter Coleman-Wright has sadly had to withdraw from the production due to personal family reasons. He will be replaced by Mark Stone as The Ferryman, and we are delighted and grateful that he is able to step in at short notice.

Please note
The performances of Curlew River takes place within the historic church of St Giles, Cripplegate; the production will make use of the full length of the church with performers moving around the space, and pillars may occasionally impede the view from any seat.

Seating is unreserved, please arrive early if you wish to ensure you have a particular seat.

There are no toilet facilities within the church.

15 & 16 Nov, St Giles Cripplegate
Curlew River Echo

Curlew River Echo is a reverberation of the performance: an audio-visual installation playing in the atmospheric environment of this ancient church, inviting people to experience an echo of the opera in a mysterious, evanescent and thought-provoking way.  The installation will loop continuously through each day, starting at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm, and 3.30pm, and finishing at  approx 4.45pm.

Free to the public

Visit for more.

Tweet  #barbicanbritten or RSVP on facebook here.

This event is part of:
Barbican Britten 2013–2014
Barbican Presents 2013–2014

Produced by the Barbican


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