BBC dusts off a Strindberg opera

BBC dusts off a Strindberg opera


norman lebrecht

February 21, 2019

It has been announced that Sakari Oramo will conduct William Alwyn’s opera on Strindberg’s Miss Julie as the curtain raiser for the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s next season.

Oramo has a pash for neglected British composers with a romantic touch.

Miss Julie was premiered as a BBC radio broadcast in July 1977 and staged 18 months later at the doomed Kingsway Hall for a select audience. Its only other outing has been a 1997 production in Norwich, that received a recording.


  • msc says:

    Great news — so much of Alwyn’s music deserves to be performed more. When was Walton’s “Troilus and Cressida” last performed anywhere of note?

  • Paul Randall says:

    Jill Gomez is marvellous in the Tausky recording. But, in my view it isn’t a very good opera. Alwyn is certainly a skilled composer when it comes to creating moods – a star-lit evening / tension growing between a couple / etc etc but just ladling out the mood when the various characters come into view, doesn’t make for a good opera.

    Yes, I will be pleased to hear the work again (I gave away my copy of the Lyrita recording) but I’m not too hopeful of being convinced.

    Many / most of the important British composers of the mid 20th C wrote operas (not Finzi, too sensible) but there are, I think, few of their operas that can survive the spotlight of a recording, and I reluctantly include Walton here. Not the case with Benjamin Britten’s wonderful works.

  • Fernando says:

    There’s also a German-language operatic version of the powerful Strindberg drama: ‘Julie’ by Philippe Boesmans, a Belgian composer. There’s a DVD available which is quite enjoyable, with Malena Ernman in the title role.

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Excellent. But when will BBC Symphony give us Bliss’s The Olympians?