The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be playing music of Benjamin Britten each of the next two weekends.


Benjamin Britten in 1933


In a sold-out chamber series at The Music Room in St. Paul (Feb. 4 and 6), SPCO musicians will perform Britten's quartet, "Phantasy."

In an adventurous program on Feb. 10-12, soprano Dawn Upshaw sings Britten's setting of "Les Illuminations," the 125-year-old prose poems by Arthur Rimbaud that continue to captivate interest today, as evidenced by several new English translations, including one by poet John Ashbery, due out in April on Norton. Also being performed is music of Ravel and Schoenberg, and arrangements by Webern of music of Schubert and Bach.


Arthur Rimbaud


In video clip below, thin British tenor Ian Bostridge talks about what a young Britten saw in Rimbaud, and performs excerpts from "Illuminations" with his hands in his pockets. Not sure why.


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