Paul Bunyan is a "choral operetta" composed by Benjamin Britten with book and lyrics by W. H. Auden.
Britten and Auden had moved to the United States to escape the war in Europe; this operetta is something of a capsule summary of the history of their new home. It begins with a chorus of trees and geese and progresses to the arrival of lumberjacks organized by Paul Bunyan. By the second act, some of the lumberjacks have become farmers and by the end of the show, they are all members of industrial society.
The music is based on a wide variety of American styles, including folk songs, blues and hymns.
It premiered at Columbia University in 1941 to largely negative reviews. Britten revised the operetta in 1976, removing two numbers (Inkslinger's Love Song and Lullaby of Dream Shadows) and composing a new finale for Act I. This is the version performed today, although the 1988 recording also includes the two deleted numbers.