Date: August 2005
Creator: Salfen, Kevin McGregor
Description: Although the most well-known collaborations of William Plomer and Benjamin Britten are the three church parables (or church operas) - Curlew River, The Burning Fiery Furnace, and The Prodigal Son - by the time of the completion of Curlew River in 1964, the librettist and composer had been working together for well over a decade. During that time, they had completed the opera Gloriana and had considered collaborating on three other projects: one a children's opera on Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mr. Tod, one on an original story of Plomer's called "Tyco the Vegan," and one on a Greek myth (possibly Arion, Daedalus and Icarus, or Phaëthon). Far from being footnotes to the parables, these early collaborations established Plomer and Britten's working relationship and brought to light their common interests as well as their independent ones. Their successive early collaborations, therefore, can be thought of as a conversation through creative expression. This metaphor of conversation can be applied both to successive collaborations and to the completed Gloriana, in that the libretto and the music can be seen as representing different interpretations of both major and minor characters in the opera, including Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. ...
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