The Bear is an opera in one act lasting about 1 hour, premiered at Aldeburgh Festival on 03/06/1967 with Monica Sinclair, John Shaw and Norman Lumsden conducted by James Lockhart.
In 1970 it was broadcast for the first time on BBC television, conducted by the composer and a performed by Regina Resnik, Thomas Hemsey and Derek Hammond-Strout.
Commissioned by Koussevitsky Music Foundation in 1965, which only saw the light of day two years later after a health problem following which Walton had undergone surgery.
Based on a Chekhov play by the same name, the light story is set in the Russian countryside in Madame Popova’s living room. The bright and sometimes funny tone is amplified by Walton’s extensive use of quotations and parodies, especially by Stravinsky and Britten.