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Falling in Love With The Operas of Benjamin Britten -- John Frey
Odd Fellows Hall
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Falling in Love With The Operas of Benjamin Britten -- John Frey
Thursdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27,  1:00pm - 4:00pm

Odd fellows Hall,  SLO

Four Sessions

$20 for LLCC members, $40 for non-members.

In four sessions, you will see a Documentary about Benjamin Britten and then three operas. All of them have one thing in common - each is about or was written by English composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten.

Edward Benjamin Britten, (22 November 1913  4 December 1976) was  a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. With the premiere of Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to international fame. Over the next 28 years, he wrote 14 more operas, establishing himself as one of the leading 20th-century composers in the genre. In addition to large-scale operas he wrote "chamber operas" for small forces, suitable for performance in venues of modest size. Recurring themes in his operas are the struggles of outsiders against a hostile society, and the corruption of innocence.

Benjamin Britten: A Time There Was. . . is a solid documentary assembled from interviews, rehearsal clips, photographs and other audio-visual materials to create a vivid portrait of the composer.

Billy Budd is based on the short novel by Herman Melville. Billy Budd, with its central conflict between the malevolent Claggart and the innocent Billy on a British man-o-war. It delves into the mysteries of human motivation and the conflict between good and evil.

The Rape of Lucretia is the story of the historical character, Lucretia, a paragon of beauty, virtue, domesticity, honor, and civic responsibility who represents the perfect Roman matron, even choosing death rather than dishonor. Her rape and suicide were considered the spark leading to the establishment of the Roman Republic.

Gloriana a celebration of Elizabeth I, was composed on the command of Elizabeth II as part of her Coronation ceremonies. The libretto is based Lytton Strachey's biographical novel Elizabeth and Essex. A recurring theme throughout the work is the Queen's conflict between her affection for Essex and her devotion to her role as monarch culminating in the sentencing of Essex to death.

Each session consists of a 30-minute commentary and discussion as well as a 2.5-hr showing of each video. The course syllabus includes (1) an analysis of the plot of each of the videos, (2) a synopsis and list of characters, (3) a description of the source material that inspired the works and (4) brief biographies of authors, composers and performers. A list of recommended CDs, DVDs and books is provided. The course will familiarize you with the scope of contemporary American opera.

John Frey is a retired Chemistry professor and a member of the boards of LLCC, Festival Mozaic and of Opera Lovers Meet.  He has performed in the chorus of Opera San Luis Obispo and the SLO Master Chorale.  He has had a lifelong love and passion for opera, choral music and musical theater.  He has made numerous commentaries and video presentations for SLOs Opera Lovers, OperaSLO and LLCC.

If you would like to have the password for the member price for this course, go to www.lifelearnerscc.org for information on how you can become a member.


Odd Fellows Hall (View)
520 Dana St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
United States



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