A Conversation With MARTYN BRABBINS & TOM SCHENK: Vaughan Williams’ ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’ at ENO

Posted on October 26th, 2012

Pilgrims ProgressVaughan Williams’ rapturous “Morality” (his chosen description) of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress comes to English National Opera for its first fully professional staging since its premiere at the Festival of Britain in 1951. It’s a bold and important enterprise and an international one with the visionary Japanese actor-director Yoshi Oida at the helm. With stage rehearsals in full swing Edward Seckerson ventures backstage to talk to the conductor, British music champion Martyn Brabbins, and the Dutch designer/video artist Tom Schenk. The conversation ranges from a celebration of this remarkable piece to a lively exchange of views on what lies at its heart. Vaughan Williams‘ inspired “framing device” finds Bunyan in Bedford prison for his non-conformism. That’s where the piece begins and that’s where it ends. But as Tom Schenk tantalisingly reveals: “In our production that’s where we remain throughout…”

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