Benjamin Britten's niece to celebrate composer's centenary at Glyndebourne

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On Friday 22 November eighty young people aged 9 – 17 will perform on the main-stage at Glyndebourne to mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten, exactly one hundred years since the day of his birth.

The performance will be attended by Britten’s niece, Sussex resident, Sally Schweizer. She will meet the participants and give a post-performance talk to share memories of her uncle, one of Britain’s most celebrated composers.

The performers (pictured in rehearsal), all members of Glyndebourne Youth Opera (GYO), have helped to devise a dramatic staging of Britten’s music titled Into the Harbour, Carry me Home which draws together some of his famous operatic work and a selection of songs from the Friday Afternoons song cycle.

The performance is part of the Friday Afternoons project, a UK-wide initiative led by Aldeburgh Music, which aims to encourage as many young people as possible to join together to sing the Friday Afternoons song cycle on the composer’s birthday. The project will highlight Britten’s extraordinary body of work for young people and encourage more young people to sing. Tens of thousands of young people across the country will take part on the day.

Sally Schweizer, who is the daughter of Britten’s sister, Beth Britten, said: “It’s been wonderful to witness the scale and variety of events which have taken place throughout the year in celebration of my uncle and Glyndebourne is an excellent place to spend his birthday with a group of young, aspiring performers.”

“My uncle was committed to getting children and teenagers involved in music-making so this performance, which the young people have helped to create, is a perfect tribute. I look forward to meeting the participants on the day and sharing with them my memories of the funny, generous man behind the music.”

David Pickard, General Director of Glyndebourne, said:

“Glyndebourne has a long history with Britten, which includes hosting the world premieres of two of his operas, and throughout November we will be celebrating his legacy. The Glyndebourne Youth Opera project is a particularly apt way to mark the centenary as it reflects Glyndebourne’s shared interest with Britten in nurturing a love of music amongst young people. The fact that Sally can be with us on the day of the final performance will make it even more special.”

Into the Harbour, Carry me Home forms part of month-long Britten celebrations at Glyndebourne on stage and screen. Throughout November audiences can see Fiona Shaw’s critically-acclaimed new production of The Rape of Lucretia as it travels the UK in the 2013 Glyndebourne Tour.

Join Glyndebourne’s Britten centenary celebrations

Sunday 17 November
BBC4 broadcast of Michael Grandage’s Glyndebourne Festival production of Billy Budd recorded live in 2010.

Friday 22 November – Benjamin Britten’s birthday
Glyndebourne Tour performance of Fiona Shaw’s critically-acclaimed new production of The Rape of Lucretia at Milton Keynes Theatre

Glyndebourne Youth Opera performance of Into the Harbour, Carry me Home at Glyndebourne.

Thursday 28 November
Glyndebourne hosts a dedicated under-thirties performance of The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne, tickets priced at £20.

Saturday, 28 December at 7.30pm
BBCR3 broadcast of The Rape of Lucretia recorded live at Glyndebourne.