This is a fine recording and performance of Britten's first opera, Paul Bunyan, notable also because WH Auden wrote the libretto. Britten and Auden apparently initially aimed at producing some kind of Broadway show. Clearly, once they got underway, this piece became too ambitious and complicated for a Broadway venue. As pointed out in the excellent liner notes by the Britten scholar Donald Mitchell, this work has the form of an operetta and it certainly has a light hearted tone. While the form and tone of the work is comedic, its intent is serious. In several respects, this piece is simultaneously a meditation on the nature of America and Man's relation to the natural world, a recurrent theme in Auden's work. Much of the music is lovely, displaying Britten's characteristic and remarkable talent for setting text to music. There are some stunning moments, including the Litany that closes the piece. This is not one of Britten's greatest works but it is awfully good, at least on par with Albert Herring, and in my opinion, better than that better known piece.