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OWEN WINGRAVE

2001 90 minutes Opera Film Channel 4 / RM Associates
In 1971, Benjamin Britten’s opera written specially for television was shown on BBC Televison and within days throughout America, Scandinavia and Europe. Thirty years later, this innovative new film version vividly depicts the intensity of the drama and its passionate realisation in Britten’s music. Conducted by Kent Nagano with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

R E V  I E W S

‘An inspired piece of music-drama…the brilliant camera-work caught precisely Owen’s isolation…Above all, this looked like a real drama, banishing the memory of the somewhat stagy original.’
Opera, October, 2001

‘Margaret Williams’s production revels in the musical cues for visual flexibility, dissolving and intercutting scenes and images [and] brilliantly using voice-over for the characters’ internal thoughts’
Time Out, July 25 – Aug 2001 

‘Director Margaret Williams has taken advantage of the extra freedom accorded her to “open out” scenes during orchestral interludes. In effect, while being true to the music, she was able to create additional scenes which illuminated aspects of the work…The result is probably the best film version of an opera yet made. It lays out a lucid exposition of a complex work and, with virtually every shot, illuminates both score and text. Wonderful performances are obtained from a highly talented cast.’ Read full article
The Daily Telegraph, June 16, 2001

‘Margaret Williams’s new version could not be more flattering to the piece. Williams’s eye for detail is throughout perfectly riveting’
The Times, July 31, 2001

‘This new version is beautifully filmed, making the most of the medium. As for the music, the interludes are lovely – reminiscent of great film music.’
Daily Mail, July 28, 2001

‘The direction of Margaret Williams [has] done the most that ever has been done to rehabilitate this flawed work.’
Sunday Telegraph, July 22, 2001

OWEN WINGRAVE [is] a visually striking new production, finally blossoming in the medium it was intended for. Conceived as a television opera, the 1971 work has also been staged; neither form has until now revealed the piece’s compact, intimate strength…this version is as good as Britten-lovers could hope for.’
Financial Times, July 28, 2001

‘Filmed on location with some incisive camera shots, this late and often disregarded work gained new presence and authority.’
The Observer, August 5, 2001

C R E D I T S  &  C A S T

director
MARGARET WILLIAMS

composer
BENJAMIN BRITTEN

libretto
MYFANWY PIPER

performed by
DEUTSCHES SYMPHONIE ORCHESTER BERLIN

conductor
KENT NAGANO

directors of photography
NEVE CUNNINGHAM
JANET TOVEY

production designer
MIRANDA MELLVILLE

casting
JOHN OWEN

music producers
PHILIP TRAUGOTT
WILHELM HELLWEG

costume designer
DOREEN WATKINSON

make-up designer
CHRIS BLUNDELL
KEVIN ALEXANDER

sound
FLOATING EARTH

music advisor
DONALD MITCHELL

animateur
NICK HERRETT

editor
JOHN MIDDLEWICK

producer
ANNE BERESFORD
MJW PRODUCTION

Owen Wingrave
GERALD FINLEY

Spencer Coyle
PETER SAVIDGE

Lechmere
HILTON MARLTON

Miss Wingrave
JOSEPHINE BARSTOW

Mrs Coyle
ANNE DAWSON

Mrs Julian
ELIZABETH GALE

Kate Julian
CHARLOTTE HELLEKANT

Sir Philip Wingrave
MARTYN HILL

narrator
ANDREW BURDEN