Commissioned by the Royal Opera House and 'dedicated by gracious permission to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in honour of whose coronation it was composed', Britten's 'Gloriana' is the story of an old queen's infatuation with a hot-headed younger man.
At its premiere, there were mutterings that the opera's emphasis on an ageing, ungracious monarch was an inappropriate way to celebrate the coronation. But sixty years later it's easier see that with its masterly exploration of the tension between public and private, heart and duty, and its contrasting scenes of grandeur and intimacy, 'Gloriana' is in fact among the finest of Britten's operas.
Broadcast live from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Susan Bullock as the Virgin Queen and Toby Spence as the impetuous Earl of Essex.
|Susan Bullock||Elizabeth I, Queen of England|
|Toby Spence||Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex|
|Patricia Bardon||Frances Devereux, Lady Essex|
|Mark Stone||Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy|
|Kate Royal||Penelope, Lady Rich|
|Jeremy Carpenter||Sir Robert Cecil|
|Clive Bayley||Sir Walter Raleigh|
|Ben Bevan||Henry Cuffe|
|Brindley Sherratt||Blind Ballad Singer|
|Jeremy White||Recorder of Norwich|
|Andrew Tortise||Spirit of the Masque|
|David Butt Philip||Master of Ceremonies|
|Michel de Souza||City Crier|
|Chorus and orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden|