The Burning Fiery Furnace

The last production of Opera Brittenica's 2013-2014 season will feature local celebrity baritone, Robert Honeysucker and NYC tenor, Marcos Vigil in Benjamin Britten's second church parable; "The Burning Fiery Furnace." The production will be led by Donald Teeters (Conductor Emeritus of the Boston Cecilia) and Erin Huelskamp (Founding Member of Juventas New Music) at All Saints Parish in Brookline, thanks to the generosity of the parish. There will be no official ticket price, but a donation of $10 would be greatly appreciated. 

The Burning Fiery Furnace tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar and the three Israelites, Ananias, Misael and Asarias (corresponding Babylonian names:Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), who were thrown into a furnace for their refusal to worship Nebuchadnezzar's image of gold. However, God saves them from death, as the voice of an angel joins the Israelites in a 'Benedicte'.

From the Britten/Pears Foundation Website:

After the inward concentration of Curlew River, Britten set out to make his second Church Parable, ‘something much less sombre, an altogether gayer affair’ as he put it. Based on the Old Testament story of Nebuchadnezzar and the three Israelites, The Burning Fiery Furnace uses the same basic vocal and instrumental forces as its predecessor and retains its most distinctive structural features, but the work makes a strongly contrasted impression. 

The attempt to write in a generally lighter vein results in a more flexible approach and a greater variety of colour (aided by Britten’s imaginative deployment of the rarely used alto trombone). Although the work is no less powerful and concentrated as a result, the wider range can accommodate such memorable diversions as the young acolytes’ entertainment during the Babylonian feast and the march before the raising of the image of Merodak when the players take up their instruments and process around the church.