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First performed: Fri 10 June 2016

‘I have long wanted to create a theatre work with this music. Now I have found the means to do it. Theatre or dance were always too limited a vocabulary to convey this vivid world. Circus is the key to unlock it.’ – Struan Leslie

Inspired by the hyper-sensual surrealism of Rimbaud’s poetry, director Struan Leslie’s specially-commissioned 2016 staging of Britten’s Les illuminations fused music and contemporary circus performance. Britten’s voluptuous musical settings take flight on the back of Rimbaud’s extraordinarily evocative verse, a spectacle of extremes, a world of febrile fantasy, a parade of grotesques and lurid, erotic imagery.

For this daring new staging, Aurora was joined by soprano Sarah Tynan and an ensemble of international circus performers in a programme that also includes Britten’s Young Apollo, Debussy’s String Quartet and music from John Adams’ Shaker Loops.

Filmed live at the 2016 Aldeburgh Festival. Broadcast on Aurora Play in partnership with Aldeburgh Festival on Sunday 7 June 2020.

Please note the full performance is no longer available to stream online.