Benjamin Britten

Owen Wingrave, opera, Op. 85

    Description by Rita Laurance

    Owen Wingrave is an opera in two acts by British composer Benjamin Britten. The libretto, by Myfanwy Piper, is based on a short story by nineteenth century author Henry James. This was the second ghost story by Henry James set by Britten, who earlier in his career created a theatrical monument with his opera The Turn of the Screw. The work was commissioned by BBC Television, who recorded it for television in November 1970. Its debut at a major opera house took place in Covent Garden at the Royal Opera House on May 10, 1975. The score reflects Britten's contemporary interest in twelve-tone composition and his pacifist convictions. Of central interest is the ballad of the family of the Wingraves which is sung by ghosts, the martial music throughout the opera which foreshadows Owen Wingrave's untimely end, and the final aria of Owen Wingrave, which is addressed to the family portraits and ghosts.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 Decca 4785364
    2008 Chandos 10473
    1993 Decca 433200
    Decca 000321302