New College School Oxford presents Britten’s Noye’s Fludde

The pupils of New College School, Oxford perform Benjamin Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde.

This community opera is based on the biblical story of Noah and the Ark. Noye hears the voice of God warning of the coming floods, and creates an ark to save his family and a vast array of animals (played by children in the opera).

Britten composed the opera for a mix of amateur and professional performers, and the audience is invited to participate in the hymns. The instrumental ensemble includes a wide array of percussion – including an invented ‘slung mug’ device to mimic the sound of rainfall – as well as handbells and bugles.

After the congregation has sung the hymn ‘Lord Jesus, think on me’, the Voice of God is heard warning Noye that he has decided to destroy sinful man and all living things, save Noye and his family. They must therefore construct a boat according to God’s specifications. Noye and his family start building – all except his wife, who sits drinking with her ‘gossips’, as she calls her friends. Meanwhile Noye is instructed to collect two of all the animals. The animals duly enter, and since Mrs Noye continues to refuse to enter the ark, her sons carry her aboard just before the water sweeps away her gossips. At the height of the flood all join in the hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong so save’. After forty days, Noye sends a raven to seek for dry land but it does not return. Next he sends a dove, which returns with an olive branch in its beak – a sign of peace between God and man. When Noye and his passengers disembark, God sets a rainbow in the sky as a pledge that he will never flood the earth again. All join in the hymn ‘The spacious firmament on high’.

The choristers of New College Choir will also singing a series of choral items, and the concert will conclude with the NCS Orchestra performing Schubert’s Symphony no.8 (‘Unfinished’).

Alexander Armstrong The Voice of God
Ben Davies Noye
Lucie Špičková Mrs Noye
Choristers of New College Choir
Thomas Neal Conductor

Ticket Information

Full price - £10 / Children under 18 Free

Doors open at 16:30 ready for a 17:00 start.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

To book please call 01865 285560