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RNCM Opera: Vaughan Williams's The Pilgrim’s Progress

Sunday March 31, 2019 at 15:00
RNCM, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
from £23
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  1. The Pilgrim's Progress - Ralph Vaughan Williams

The Pilgrim’s Progress tells the story of an Everyman figure – Pilgrim – who journeys from his home, the City of Destruction, through a series of challenges and temptations to the Celestial City and salvation. This new RNCM Opera production is set during the First World War, and we see the Pilgrim as a deserter who leaves his fellow soldiers behind to embark on a quest for better things.

Inspired by John Bunyan’s text (Vaughan Williams actually kept a copy of the book with him while he served in the trenches) the composer turned the 1678 religious allegory into a universal tale of spirituality moving beyond the confines of Christianity. However, The Pilgrim’s Progress unashamedly sides with the Pilgrim in stressing the righteousness of his journey.

This unconventional piece (Vaughan Williams called it a ‘morality’ rather than an opera) is the culmination of the composer’s 45-year musical journey, the ultimate expression of the wide variety of his musical style, exhibiting fabulous transparency of orchestration and a luminous sound. It is spiritual rather than religious and very uplifting, focussing on the light rather than the dark. We see the two sides of Vaughan Williams – the gentle lyricism of his pastoral style and his darker side that lived with the horrors of war. It is a defining work for the composer – a coherent time-lapse of his music.

This production will be sung in English with surtitles.

RNCM, Royal Northern College of Music
124 Oxford Road
M13 9RD
This advertisement was submitted by Royal Northern College of Music.
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