Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) is the most internationally played British composer, virtuosic pianist and conductor.
Russia held a special significance for Britten; he enjoyed fruitful friendships and collaboration with the opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya, composer Dmitri Shostakovich, pianist Sviatoslav Richter and cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch, the latter two having performed with him at the Aldeburgh Festival.
Seasons of Benjamin Britten in Russia was successfully launched on 4 June 2013 in St Petersburg by Maggi Hambling’s exhibition ‘Wall of Water’ at the State Hermitage Museum and the performance of Britten’s Church Parables, which were presented in Russia for the first time at the Hermitage Theatre and at St Ekaterina’s Church. More than 1,000 people attended a unique Mahogany Opera production.
Richard Jarman, General Director of the Britten-Pears Foundation:
«Britten was close to the great Soviet musicians of his time and his connections with the country and its art were very important to him, both personally and as a composer. In visiting Russia in recent years I got the impression that there was a keen and curious audience for all sorts of music in the city and that Britten’s name and reputation were still familiar. Seasons of Benjamin Britten in Russia is an opportunity to refresh the audience’s knowledge and to present some new and unfamiliar works. We hope that this programme will give audiences in Moscow an insight into the life and music of this great 20th century composer, now generally ranked alongside Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Stravinsky».
The Russian celebrations of the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth сontinued in autumn 2013 in Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg:
As part of the centenary programme audiences will be treated to Benjamin Britten’s works in different genres, many of which will be performed in Russia for the first time. Moscow celebrations of the centenary launched on 6 October.
In addition to a rich musical programme, as part of the celebration of the centenary the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts launched the exhibition of the Britten Pears art collection, Britten’s Artistic World on 15 October.
Connoisseurs of Benjamin Britten will be pleased to find the first Russian language biography of the composer, “Britten” published by the All-Russian State Library for Foreign Literature.
The British Council will hold an extensive educational programme from September to December 2013.
All events within Seasons of Benjamin Britten in Russia are organized and held with the support of the British Council – an official partner of the Britten-Pears Foundation.
Russian National Orchestra concerts will be performed with the support of the Mikhail Pletnev Fund for the Support of National Culture.
For more information on Seasons of Benjamin Britten in Russia please contact Elizaveta Rozova at the British Council Russia.