Curlew River

ALISON CROOSE Burnham Thorpe Church


Burnham Thorpe Church

This summer's Burnham Market Concerts concluded with two performances of an ambitious and exciting production of Benjamin Britten's church opera, which proved to be an innovative and dramatic finale.

Mahogany Opera ended its tour of the production - with previous performances in Southwark Cathedral, Long Melford and Blythburgh churches - in the delightful and appropriate surroundings of the isolated Burnham Thorpe Church.

Britten saw the Japanese Noh play in 1956 and transformed it into a Medieval mystery set in the East Anglian Fens.

The parable is performed by a group of monks and the drama began as the sound of their plainchant approached through the churchyard.

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The appearance of the whole company in hooded cloaks created a haunting atmosphere for the 80-minute work.

The moving story of a mother's search for her lost son was directed by Frederic Wake-Walker, who devised a highly visual production which made the performance an impressive spectacle.

Strong singing and acting from John McMunn, Simon Thorpe, Samuel Evans, Ronald Nairne, Owen Liggett and the pilgrims was critical and their efforts were justly rewarded with a rousing ovation from the packed audience.