Fri 21 Sept 8pm
St Mary's Parish Church, Haddington
Duration approx. 1 hour 20 mins
£35, £30, £25, £17.50
Half price concession for children and students in full time education on £25 and £17.50 prices
The Burning Fiery Furnace
In this major festival event, Scottish Opera makes its Lammermuir Festival debut with a new semi-staging of the second of Britten’s intensely dramatic and atmospheric ‘church parables’. Ideally presented in Haddington’s great mediaeval church of St Mary and scored for solo singers, chorus and instrumental ensemble, The Burning Fiery Furnace tells the biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar and the three Israelites thrown into a furnace for refusing to worship the king. But God saves them, the voice of an angel joining them in a ‘Benedicite’.
Reviewing “this dazzling score” after the opera’s 1966 premiere the critic John Warrack compared it with its predecessor Curlew River, saying that Britten here “finds more room for colour and incident” and “a gain in richness and humanity. The scoring expands . . . most thrillingly in a Babylonian march of stamping pagan violence around the church, in the flickering sting of the fire music, in the lash of the added range of percussion. But the most haunting sound is again vocal – that of the clear treble that pierces the texture to make the [angel’s] voice in the furnace.”
See ticket prices for St. Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington below. For tickets, please call the box office on 0131 473 2000.
The Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin is one of the great ecclesiastical buildings of mediaeval Scotland, founded in 1380 and known for centuries as "The Lamp of Lothian".
It was severely damaged in the 16th Century during Henry VIII's 'Rough Wooing' of Scotland, and after the Reformation only the nave was used as a parish church, with the choir and tower remaining roofless.
It was finally restored to its former glory in the 1970s, and is Scotland's longest church as well as one of its most beautiful, with a wonderfully warm, resonant acoustic.