With another festival at an end, it’s time for our Aldeburgh Festival 2013 review. The Britten centenary ensured that 2013 would be an extraordinary year for the festival, with a host of performances paying tribute to the great man.
Britten’s Gloriana – originally written to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation – was an audience favourite, with Susan Bullock’s performance as the first Queen Elizabeth exploring the responsibilities of monarchy. The cast managed to salvage the neglected Gloriana, replacing its usual grimness with notes of optimism.
The highlight of the festival came with the al fresco beach performance of Britten’s best loved work, Peter Grimes. The cast, led by Alan Oke as Peter Grimes, performed amid a breathtakingly authentic setting of fishing boats, wheeling gulls and blustering winds.
As well as the Britten tributes, new works by Harrison Birtwistle and Charlotte Bray drew the loudest applause. This year’s centennial festival managed to capture the best of Aldeburgh’s past, while pointing to its future with a continuing emphasis on challenging new works.