RADIO 4 DOCUMENTARY ON JENNIFER VYVYAN
“OPENING THE BOXES”
THURSDAY AUGUST 18th at 11.30 uk time
Jennifer Vyvyan (13 March 1925 – 5 April 1974)
A message from Jennifer Vyvyan’s son, Jonathan Crown
Thank you from Jonathan Crown for your comments. I hope you enjoyed the programme on Radio 4. I will try to keep the website proper updated with fresh material every month or so.
Every now and then you come across a voice that you think you should know but don’t. Here is such a one. A British soprano who was involved with the likes of Benjamin Britten and contributed greatly towards the baroque revival in Britain in the 1950’s and 60’s. Having explored the web site and listened to the enchanting examples of her voice I, for one, will certainly be listening in to this broadcast.
LINK to BBC iPlayer
When Jennifer Vyvyan died in 1974, aged only 49, she left behind a husband, a small son and an awful lot of stuff – which was put in boxes and stored in a loft for almost 40 years until it was re-examined and turned into the material for this website… The site is packed full of wonderful information, diary excerpts, programme photos and gorgeous sound files – do take time to pay a visit if you can.
Two years ago, music critic Michael White * was asked to look at some storage boxes, in which were packed these memorabilia. For several months, he and her son Jonathan Crown delved through them and uncovered the fascinating story of one of Britain’s most dazzling classical music stars. In this programme, White reveals his discoveries, from the dramatic roles she pioneered for Benjamin Britten to her definitive recordings of Handel, made with Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir Adrian Boult. We learn of her aristocratic roots, a controversial marriage, her championing of new music and the baroque revival, as well as a lifelong struggle against a fatal disease.
We also hear archive recordings of Vyvan herself, and the recollections of her contemporaries April Cantelo, Stuart Bedford and John Copley. Above all we hear one of the most golden voices of the post war era of British music.
*Michael White was voted Britain’s least boring music critic by listeners of Classic FM. He has made documentaries about Menotti, Britten and Nielsen and once attempted to explain Wagner’s Ring Cycle on TV in half an hour. He’s the author of two books: Introducing Wagner (Icon) and Opera & Operetta (HarperCollins).
From the long thought lost 1959 made for TV production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw.
This was the first ever Opera adapted for TV, and it was deemed a great success.
video courtesy of Jonathan Crown
LINK to facebook page
Read her 8 desert island disc choices