Amphithéâtre Bastille - from 19 to 28 November 2016
2h00 with 1 interval
In few words:
"You take it hard, this legend of the house."
Coyle, Acte II, scène 2
Owen Wingrave comes from an old military family with its gallery of forbears who died on the battlefield and their share of legends – some glorious, some less so – and an omnipresent air of repressed violence. Owen rejects the military career his family has chosen for him. For him, wearing a uniform means becoming an actor of this violence. He ends up shutting himself away in a remote room of the family manor where one of his ancestors – a colonel – once killed his son for refusing to fight… Based on a short story by Henry James and composed for the BBC in 1971, the rarely-performed Owen Wingrave is nonetheless one of the English composer’s major works. In the midst of the Vietnam war, Britten broached a difficult and controversial subject reflecting his own convictions. Is pacifism, an act of cowardice or a desire to escape from the spiral of war in order to attain a world where peace reigns? The work’s force lies in questioning conventional wisdom through an austere yet sophisticated musical style. Britten’s penultimate opera has been entrusted to the young Irish director Tom Creed, who is making his debut in France.