Vaughan Williams' rapturous "Morality" (his chosen description) of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim's Progress opened this week at the Coliseum - the English National Opera presenting the opera's first fully professional staging since its premiere at the Festival of Britain in 1951.

The Pilgrim's Progress at ENO
It’s a bold and important enterprise and an international one with the visionary Japanese actor-director Yoshi Oida at the helm. With stage rehearsals in full swing Edward Seckerson ventures backstage to talk to the conductor, British music champion Maryn Brabbins, and the Dutch designer/video artist Tom Schenk.

The conversation ranges from a celebration of this remarkable piece to a lively exchange of views on what lies at its heart. Vaughan Williams' inspired “framing device” finds Bunyan in Bedford prison for his non-conformism. That’s where the piece begins and that’s where it ends. But as Tom Schenk tantalisingly reveals: “In our production that’s where we remain throughout...”  

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