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The Philadelphia Boys Choir Performs Benjamin Britten's The Golden Vanity

Jun. 01, 2019

The Philadelphia Boys Choir Performs Benjamin Britten's <em>The Golden Vanity</em>

On June 23, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, led by Jeffrey R. Smith, will perform Benjamin Britten's The Golden Vanity at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Britten's one-act opera is described as "a vaudeville for boys and piano", authored by Colin Graham. The tragic work is described in detail:

"The boys march on and form two groups, those representing 'The Golden Vanity' and those representing the enemy ship ‘The Turkish Galilee’.  'The Golden Vanity' is riding the Lowland Sea with a cargo of silver and gold when it comes across the marauding vessel.  The ship floundering and vulnerable from a blast from the pirate ship, the cabin boy asks the captain what his reward would be if he were to sink 'The Turkish Galilee'.  The captain offers him the hand of his ‘pretty little daughter who lives upon the shore’.  The cabin boy dives into the water and swims over the the enemy ship, boring three holes in the side.  As 'The Turkish Galilee' begins to sink, the boy returns to 'The Golden Vanity' but the rascally captain and bosun refuse to let him back on and to honor their promise.  Finally, the crew throw him a rope, but he dies on reaching the deck.  He is buried at sea amid much sorrow and remorse.  His voice can be heard evermore over the spot where he died."

(Benjamin Britten/The Golden Vanity/The Choristers of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford/
Stephen Darlington, conductor)

For more information on Benjamin Britten, please visit

Benjamin Britten
The Golden Vanity (1966)
3 treble, 2 alto soloists, treble/alto chorus-pno-drum