The Operas of Benjamin Britten

September 2004
42 line illustrations
368 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press

The Operas of Benjamin Britten

Expression and Evasion

Claire Seymour

Analysis of Britten's operatic works reveals opera as the natural medium through which he explored his private concerns.
The delicate balance between private and public communication, and the tension between art as self-expression and art as moral resolution were key concerns in Britten's music. Seymour examines ways in which Britten's operas explored and articulated the inherent ambiguity and latent sexuality of music, particularly song, and suggests that Britten's operas may illustrate his search for a public "voice" which would embody, communicate, and perhaps resolve his private beliefs and anxieties.
Analyses of Britten's operas from Paul Bunyan to Death in Venice, the three Church Parables, and several of the "children's operas" offer evidence that, for Britten, opera was the natural medium through which to explore, express and, paradoxically, repress his private concerns.

CLAIRE SEYMOUR is an Opera Studies Tutor at Rose Bruford College, Kent.

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Keywords: Music


Intelligent and informative on a number of levels...[Seymour] does much to clarify the nature and extent, the range and consistency, of Britten's artistic achievement. BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWSLETTER [John Talbot]

A source of some solid enjoyment. MUSICAL TIMES

A wide variety of ideas within two covers. GRAMOPHONE

Among the more interesting expositions of Britten as man and composer. Recommended. CHOICE

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