Noye’s Fludde is a one-act opera written largely for young amateur performers, created by the British composer Benjamin Britten. First performed in 1958 at the annual Aldeburgh Festival, it is based on the 15th-century Chester “mystery” play which recounts the biblical story of Noah, the flood and the ark. Britten had written numerous works for mixed professionals and amateurs, and had also used text from the Chester play cycle, for his 1952 Canticle II. For Noye’s Fludde he added to the Chester text three congregational hymns, together with the Greek prayer Kyrie eleison and an Alleluia chorus. Of the solo sung roles, only the parts of Noye (Noah) and his wife are intended to be sung by professionals; the remaining roles are taken by child and adolescent performers. The mainly amateur orchestra contains numerous unconventional instruments. At its premiere Noye’s Fludde was acclaimed by critics and the public alike, both for the inspiration of the music and for the d
esign and production. Since then it has been staged worldwide; the performance in Beijing in October 2012 was the first in China of any Britten opera.
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