title. Paul Bunyan
conductor . Alice Farnham design . Cai Dyfan choreographer . Jem Treays lx design . Peter Harrison video design . Adam Young
photography . Catherine Ashmore
RPS AWARD WINNER
SOUTH BANK SKY ARTS AWARD NOMINEE
Director Martin Constantine, designer Cai Dyfan and choreographer Jem Treays harnessed the super-abundant energy into one surreal flow. While the perceptible darkness of the opera marks Britten's prospective way, Constantine made it culminate in a closing moment in which Johnny, ostensibly ecstatic at his golden Hollywood opportunity, holds a revolver to his head – leaving a crucial question mark over the ultimate dream.
THE GUARDIAN ****
Throughout, a young boy witnesses the action from his iron bed, covered in a Stars and Stripes blanket. All is set within a snow-paquey early TV screen from which Stephen Fry, projected on film in the speaking role of Paul Bunyan himself, utters smooth, mysterious platitudes in a rather effective, slow American accent. WNO worked wonders with this intractable piece, thanks especially to the high standards of the large ensemble cast, chorus and orchestra, Martin Constantine's imaginative direction and the well-paced conducting of Alice Farnham.