The Burning Fiery Furnace
The Burning Fiery Furnace is an English music drama with music composed by Benjamin Britten, his Opus 77, to a libretto by William Plomer. One of Britten's three Parables for Church Performances, this work received its premiere at the St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, Suffolk, England, on 9 June 1966 by the English Opera Group.
|The Burning Fiery Furnace|
|Opera by Benjamin Britten|
The composer in 1968
|Description||A Parable for Church Performance|
Colin Graham was the stage director of this first production. Set designs were by Annena Stubbs. The United States premiere was presented at the Caramoor Summer Music Festival on 25 June 1967 with Andrea Velis as Nebuchadnezzar.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 9 June 1966|
(Conductor: Benjamin Britten)
|Ananias (Shadrack)||baritone||John Shirley-Quirk|
|Misael (Meshach)||tenor||Robert Tear|
|Azarias (Abednego)||baritone||Victor Godfrey|
|Herald and Leader of the Courtiers||baritone||Peter Leeming|
|Chorus of Courtiers; attendants|
The Burning Fiery Furnace tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar (the historical Nebuchadnezzar II) and the three Israelites, Ananias, Misael and Asarias (corresponding Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), who were thrown into a furnace for their refusal to worship Nebuchadnezzar's image of gold. However, God saves them from death, as the voice of an angel joins the Israelites in a 'Benedicite'.
- Nebuchadnezzar: Peter Pears
- The Astrologer: Bryan Drake
- Ananias (Shadrach): John Shirley-Quirk
- Misael (Meshach): Robert Tear
- Asarias (Abednego): Stafford Dean
- The Herald: Peter Leeming
- Chorus of Courtiers: Graham Allum, Peter Bedford, Carl Duggan, David Hartley, John McKenzie, Clive Molloy, Malcolm Rivers
- The Acolytes: Robert Alder, Paull Boucher, James Newby, Stephen Price, Christopher Taylor
The instrumentalists were Richard Adeney (flute), Neill Sanders (horn), Roger Brenner (trombone), Cecil Aronowitz (viola), Keith Marjoram (double bass), Osian Ellis (harp), James Blades (percussion) and Philip Ledger (organ).
- Warrack, John (Autumn 1966). "First Performances: Britten's The Burning Fiery Furnace". Tempo. New Series (78): 22–23. JSTOR 942504.
- Alan Blyth (2007-04-10). "Colin Graham". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
- Allen Hughes (June 26, 1967). "Britten Parable Makes U.S. Debut; 'Fiery Furnace,' 2d Church Work, Given at Caramoor". p. 39.
- Thomas, Christopher J. (1986). "The Church Parables". The Opera Quarterly. 4 (3): 178–184. doi:10.1093/oq/4.3.178. Retrieved 2008-05-01.
- Hindley, Clifford (Summer 1992). "Homosexual Self-Affirmation and Self-Oppression in Two Britten Operas". The Musical Quarterly. 76 (2): 143–168. doi:10.1093/mq/76.2.143. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
- Keith Grant (2002-04-08). "Bryan Drake". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
- "Britten - The Burning Fiery Furnace". Gramophone. October 1990. Retrieved 2017-02-27.