An opera in English – Benjamin Britten (1960)
I believe passionately in the intelligibility of the words – opera being a fusion of music, acting, painting and poetry, of which the last named demands to be understood. Because I do not speak Italian, it was not until I heard Mozart and Verdi opera sung in English that I realised to the full their fabulous subtlety, wit and dramatic aptitude. I always encourage my works to be sung in the vernacular – even pieces like the Spring Symphony and the Nocturne, which contain some of the greatest English poetry. Of course something is lost, but not a great deal when you substitute the gibberish which can result from singers using languages they do not understand and cannot pronounce.
Opera New England provides singers who may be on the verge of a professional career the opportunity to rehearse and perform fully staged opera over four public performances. Singers are required to present fully prepared for their role for a period of intense rehearsal in Armidale and are responsible for their travel costs to and from Armidale.
Singers are not paid a fee however they are provided with a full living away from home package including full board including meals and lodging during the rehearsal and performance period.