Janette Heffernan was the first girl to sing in the composer's ghost opera.
I first met him when I was aged 15, when he was looking for children for the Aldeburgh premiere of Noye's Fludde, in 1958. I was at ballet school at the time, but I'd had singing lessons so my teachers put me forward for an audition. I knew Britten's music — I'd seen his Prince of Pagodas four times at Covent Garden — and at the audition I recognised him from photographs. So when I was called on-stage I said, “Excuse me, are you Benjamin Britten?” and he said “Yes, how did you know that?”. I think that must have helped me to get the part of Mrs Sem.
While at Britten's home in Aldeburgh I was made to feel like a nuisance and a silly little thing. It was clear that Ben had his inner circle — Michael Crawford, for instance, who played Mr Jaffett in the Noye's Fludde premiere, was a clear favourite. And it wasn't hard to see why. He was a brilliant actor, so inventive and a real Charlie Chaplin character. Small wonder he went on to become famous in his adulthood. Ben had a knack for discovering child talent.
via The Times
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.