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Birtwistle's Gawain

From the Barbican in London, a concert staging of Harrison Birtwistle's opera Gawain, starring John Tomlinson and Leigh Melrose. Martyn Brabbyns conducts the BBC SO and Singers.

Sir Harrison Birtwistle's epic Gawain. Sir John Tomlinson is the Green Knight and Leigh Melrose, Gawain. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers are conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Presented by Tom Service with Birtwistle expert Professor Jonathan Cross.

Gawain ..... Leigh Melrose (baritone)
The Green Knight ..... John Tomlinson (bass)
Morgan Le Fay ..... Laura Aikin (soprano)
Lady de Hautdesert ..... Jennifer Johnston (mezzo)
King Arthur ..... Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor)
A Fool ..... John Graham-Hall (tenor)
Guinevere ..... Rachel Nicholls (soprano)
Bishop Baldwin ..... William Towers (countertenor)
Agravain ..... Ivan Ludlow (baritone)
Ywain ..... Robert Anthony Gardiner (tenor)
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins conductor
Andrew Griffiths conductor

Birtwistle's iconic opera of the 1990s dramatizes the mysterious Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with sombre, often shattering, power. He and librettist David Harsent cast the story in two cyclical acts, emphasising the ritual aspects of the epic saga, and lending it hieratic force. The part of the Green Knight was modelled on the range of Wotan, and is pitted against the baritone Gawain. But is it Morgan Le Fay who is really controlling events? A rare opportunity to hear this striking modern classic, from an orchestra, chorus and conductor steeped in Birtwistle's music. And Sir John Tomlinson reprises the role he created, and he alone has sung.

3 hours, 30 minutes


Role Contributor
Performer BBC Singers
Performer BBC Symphony Orchestra


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