Inspired by Herman Melville’s novella, Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd is a heart-breaking psychological study of good and evil and the many human shades of grey that lie between. Harnessing the power of a large orchestra and all-male chorus, the opera creates a vast and powerful voice for the sailors of the HMS Indomitable.
At the heart of this claustrophobic community is Billy Budd, a new recruit whose innocence, goodness and beauty attract the unwelcome attention of Master-at-arms Claggart. Conflicted and tormented by the emotions the boy stirs in him, Claggart vows to destroy him. False accusations lead to violence, tragedy and ultimately death.
Britten’s score blends lyricism and moments of startling beauty with evocative sea-shanties and sweeping orchestral textures to create one of his most moving operas.
Glyndebourne’s first ever production is directed by veteran British theatre director Michael Grandage, who makes his operatic debut with this award-winning production starring Jacques Imbrailo in the title role. Mark Elder conducts.
Billy Budd was captured live at Festival 2010. It is available on DVD from our shop.