'Spring Symphony' composer Benjamin Britten, circa 1949. Photography by Roland Haupt; courtesy of www.britten100.org.

Composer Benjamin Britten, circa 1949. Photography by Roland Haupt; courtesy of http://www.britten100.org.

CCM celebrates the 100th anniversary of composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten with a pair of free film screenings, a Mainstage Opera production, a concert performance and a special guest lecture by acclaimed film director Tony Palmer.

Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 24, and running through what would be Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday on Friday, Nov. 22, CCM’s Britten Centenary Celebration includes a guest lecture by filmmaker Tony Palmer, free public screenings of the films Nocturne and A Time There Wasplus a Mainstage Series production of Britten’s two-act opera Owen Wingrave.

The celebration culminates with a birthday concert on Nov. 22 by the CCM Philharmonia featuring the orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, narrated by special guest Santa J. Ono, PhD, President of the University of Cincinnati.

Please see individual listings below for additional information on the festival’s public events.

Born on Nov. 22, 1913, Edward Benjamin Britten was a central figure of 20th century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945). Learn more about Britten by visiting www.britten100.org.

About Tony Palmer
Tony Palmer is a British film director and author, specializing in biographical films and documentaries about musicians. Tony Palmer’s vast filmography includes more than 100 films, ranging from early works about popular musicians, such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa (200 Motels), to his famous portraits about classical composers and performers, including Benjamin Britten, Stravinsky, Puccini, Wagner, Maria Callas and Yehudi Menuhin. His seven-hour, 45-minute-long film on Wagner, starring Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave, was described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most beautiful films ever made.”

Palmer has received more than 40 international prizes for his work, including 12 Gold Medals at the New York Film and Television Festival, as well as numerous BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television) and EMMY nominations and awards. He is the only person to have won the Prix Italia twice.

Palmer is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and honorary citizen of both New Orleans and Athens. He is also a stage director of theatre and opera.

CCM will screen Palmer’s films Nocturne and A Time There Was as part of this celebration.


5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24
A Discussion with Tony Palmer
Film director Tony Palmer talks about his Wagner- and Britten-related projects, focusing on Nocturne, his 100th anniversary film about Benjamin Britten. CCM will also host a free screening of Nocturne on Saturday, Oct. 26.
Location: MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
Admission: FREE

Sponsored in part by UC Forward: The Innovation Collaborative and CCM E-Media.


3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26
Nocturne (film)
Tony Palmer, director
CCM celebrates Benjamin Britten at 100 with a free screening of Nocturne, Palmer’s 2013 documentary about the composer.
Location: MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
Admission: FREE

3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3
A Time There Was (film)
Tony Palmer, director

CCM presents a free screening of the film A Time There Was, Palmer’s 1980 film portrait of Benjamin Britten.
Location: MainStreet Cinema, Tangeman University Center
Admission: FREE

8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21
8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24
Owen Wingrave (Mainstage Opera)
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper
Johannes Müller-Stosch, conductor
Kenneth Shaw, director

Commissioned by the BBC in 1966 and based on the Henry James short story of the same name, this two act opera was completed for television by Benjamin Britten in August of 1970. Owen Wingrave is a pacifist born into a renowned military family. As he struggles to keep the affection of his would-be bride, he must face disapproval from his family over his beliefs and prove his inner strength – even if it leads to his own mysterious end. Sung in English with supertitles. A special pre-show lecture with cast and production staff members will precede the Nov. 21 performance ofOwen Wingrave at 7 p.m. in the Baur Room of the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.
Location: Patricia Corbett Theater
Tickets: $31-35 adults, $20-24 non-UC students, $18-22 UC students. Customizable subscription packages available.

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Opera Department Sponsor: Mr. & Mrs. Edward S. Rosenthal

Benjamin Britten Centenary Celebration Sponsor: Britten-Pears Foundation

8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22
Benjamin Britten at 100 (concert)
CCM Philharmonia
Mark Gibson, music director and conductor

CCM’s Britten Centennial Celebration continues with this very special concert, featuring a guest appearance by UC President Santa J. Ono!
Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Featuring Santa Ono, narrator
Britten: Violin Concerto
Elgar: Enigma Variations
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: $12 general, $6 non-UC students, UC students FREE. This concert can be included in a flex-ticket package.

Benjamin Britten Centenary Celebration Sponsor: Britten-Pears Foundation

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

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