Britten's operas often focus on the way particular worlds deal with an outsider. The outsider in Billy Budd is a young man, press-ganged into naval service on the HMS Idomitable around 1797. His story is told in an opera-length flashback by the ship's captain, Edward Fairfax Vere, who is racked by guilt over Billy's fate. Billy's optimism, good-heartedness and trusting nature wins over all but the most venal of the downtrodden crew. He's keen for promotion, but his charisma and beauty cause the evil master-at-arms, John Claggart (who resembles Iago in Shakespeare's Othello), to plot his destruction. Billy's fatal flaw is that, under pressure, he suffers from a crippling stutter. When Claggart falsely accuses him of fomenting mutiny, in front of a sceptical Vere, Billy cannot find the words to defend himself and strikes Claggart dead. At the subsequent court-martial, Vere must follow the letter of the Articles of War and Billy is condemned to death. Typically, just before his execution, Billy cries out in praise of Vere. Now a very old man, Vere concludes that Billy's blessing has, in fact, saved him. Revival Production, Sung in English with English supertitles.Performers Mark Padmore (Captain Vere), Jacques Imbrailo (Billy Budd), Brindley Sherratt (Claggart), Stephen Gadd (Mr Redburn), David Soar (Mr Flint), Darren Jeffery (Lieutenant Ratcliffe), Alasdair Elliott (Red Whiskers), John Moore (Donald), Jeremy White (Dansker), Peter Gijsbertsen (The Novice), Colin Judson (Squeak), Richard Mosley-Evans (Bosun), Dean Power (Maintop), Duncan Rock (The Novice's Friend), Michael Wallace, Benjamin Cahn, Brendan Collins, Charlie Gill, Sebastian Davies, Tom Foreman, William Gardner, Quentin Zach-Martins, Will Roberts, Padraic Rowan.
Author Britten. Producer Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Conductor Andrew Davis. Director Michael Grandage. Design Christopher Oram. Lighting Paule Constable. Company London Philharmonic Orchestra. Company The Glyndebourne Chorus.