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Episode 288

The Pilgrim's Progress (opera)
Fri, 2018-Feb-16 00:56 UTC
Length - 2:33

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Welcome to random Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a random Wikipedia page every day.

The random article for Friday, 16 February 2018 is The Pilgrim's Progress (opera).

The Pilgrim's Progress is an opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams, based on John Bunyan's allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. The composer himself described the work as a 'Morality' rather than an opera. Nonetheless, he intended the work to be performed on stage, rather than in a church or cathedral. Vaughan Williams himself prepared the libretto, with interpolations from the Bible and also text from his second wife, Ursula Wood. His changes to the story included altering the name of the central character from 'Christian' to 'Pilgrim', so as to universalise the spiritual message.

The musical gestation of this opera was protracted, and was reflected in a number of musical projects in Vaughan Williams' life. For example, his earlier one-act opera The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains from 1921 was incorporated into Act 4, Scene 2 of the later opera. His Symphony No. 5 also made use of themes originally conceived for his John Bunyan project. He wrote a 1940 motet on Mr. Valiant-for-Truth's speech for mixed chorus. The BBC commissioned Vaughan Williams for incidental music for a 1942 radio dramatisation of The Pilgrim's Progress. Herbert Murrill has characterised the opera as "summarizing in three hours virtually the whole creative output of a great composer". The opera contains 41 individual singing roles.

The first performance was at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 26 April 1951. The conductor was Leonard Hancock, whom Vaughan Williams had personally chosen to conduct the premiere, and the director Nevill Coghill.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:56 UTC on Friday, 16 February 2018.

For the full current version of the article, go to's_Progress_(opera).

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These podcasts are produced by Abulsme Productions based on Wikipedia content.

They are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Abulsme Productions also produces Curmudgeon's Corner, a current events podcast.

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