UKTW - 25 years online
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VenueBarbican Centre
Other spaces: Barbican Theatre,Barbican Hall. Guildhall School of Music and Drama Theatre, Cinema1,Cinema2,Gallery, Silk Street Theatre
TownWest End
CountyGreater London
From25th November 1999
To25th November 1999
What is currently on at Barbican Centre (V371)

Billy Budd

Billy BuddT0689027125
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.
Author Britten

Archive :: production:T0689027125, opera or operetta:S1877, venue:V371

Production details

Concert Performance


Company London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Richard Hickox
Performer Philip Langridge (Edward Fairfax Vere)
Performer John Tomlinson (John Claggart)
Performer Simon Keenlyside (Billy Budd)
Performer Alan Opie (Mr Redburn)
Performer Matthew Best (Mr Flint)
Performer Alan Ewing (Lieutenant Radcliffe)
Performer Francis Egerton (Red Whiskers)
Performer Quentin Hayes (Donald)
Performer Jeremy White (Dansker)
Performer Mark Padmore (Novice)
Performer Richard Coxon (Squeak)
Company London Symphony Chorus

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