Curlew River – A Parable for Church Performance (Op. 71) is an English music drama with music by Benjamin Britten to a libretto by William Plomer. The first of Britten's three 'Parables for Church Performance', the work is based on the Japanese noh play Sumidagawa (Sumida River) of Juro Motomasa] (1395–1431), which Britten saw during a visit to Japan and the Far East in early 1956. Beyond the noh source dramatic material, Britten incorporated elements of noh treatment of theatrical time into this composition. Curlew River marked a departure in style for the remainder of the composer's creative life, paving the way for such works as Owen Wingrave, Death in Venice, and the Third String Quartet.

Librettist William Plomer (William Plomer translated the setting of the original into a Christian parable, set in early medieval times near the fictional Curlew River, in the fenlands of East Anglia.)
Date of composition 1964 (January - 26 March 1964)
Premiered 1964, June 12th (Orford Church, Aldeburgh Festival) in Aldeburgh, United Kingdom
Dedicated to 'To Michael Tippett, in friendship and admiration'
Type Parable
Catalogue BTC 1118
Approx. duration 71 minutes
Spoken language English
Instruments Voice (Tenor) - Madwoman
Voice (Baritone) - Ferryman
Voice (Baritone) - Traveller
Voice (Treble) - Spirit of the boy
Voice (Bass) - Abbot
Autotranslations beta Benjamin Britten: Curlew River, BTC 1118
Benjamin Britten: Curlew River, BTC 1118
Benjamin Britten: Curlew River, BTC 1118