Starting as you mean to go on: Britten’s Les Illuminations at Aldeburgh Festival

Director Struan Leslie’s reimagining of Britten’s Les Illuminations song cycle opened the Aldeburgh Festival with an exciting array of circus performers, creating a dreamy evening without plot, but heady with potent mood, emotions and ideas developing across the darkened stage like scudding clouds across a stormy summer sky, culminating in a wonderful account of the cycle from gifted soprano Sarah Tynan.

Circus seems the perfect mode for expressing Britten’s setting of Rimbaud’s strange, nonsensical and psychedelic poetry, evoking intense atmosphere without plot, and above all, a sense of sprightly play and fun which encouraged the audience to engage, applaud and even giggle. We see classical music at its accessible best when it is presented with such courage, energy and humour.

Click here to read my full review on Bachtrack.

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