Opera Scotland

Burning Fiery Furnace 1968English Opera Group

Read more about the opera Burning Fiery Furnace

In the nineteen-sixties, after the mighty War Requiem, Britten temporarily abandoned large-scale dramatic forms. Instead he developed a new style of intimate music drama, the 'Parable for Church Performance'. The second of the trilogy, The Burning Fiery Furnace, was the first to have a biblical theme.

If Peter Pears was not taking the part of Nebuchadnezzar, composed with his voice in mind, that role was taken by the returning Scottish tenor Kenneth Macdonald. A native of Iona, he had become an established member of the company at Covent Garden. In the early years of his career, like several other important names, he worked frequently with the thriving amateur societies scattered around Scotland.

Robert Tear and Benjamin Luxon were important members of this ensemble. The musical performance as a whole was under the direction of Viola Tunnard and Steuart Bedford. Philip Ledger was at the keyboard. Furthermore, a leading player in the superb band was the percussionist James Blades. He had spent many happy hours assisting Britten in creating the appropriate weird soundworld, even inventing new instruments to fulfil specific requirements. Forty years earlier, he had learned his skills as a drummer in the pit hand of a silent cinema theatre - the Kinnaird Hall in Dundee, recently overtaken as the city's principal concert venue by the massive Caird Hall.

Cast details are from a copy of the programme in the Special Collections section of Glasgow University Library.

Performance DatesBurning Fiery Furnace 1968

Map List

St Mary's Cathedral, Palmerston Place | Edinburgh

29 Aug, 21.15 30 Aug, 18.30

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