Billy Budd – from Glyndebourne

Thursday 22nd August 7pm

[£10-£14 [On sale from 8th April]] Buy tickets online or [box office: 01428 642 161]

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, born suitably enough on 22 November, the feast day of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music.

The tense and stifling atmosphere on board a British man of war during the Napoleonic wars, with discipline brutally enforced and danger of attack ever present, is powerfully evoked in this production by Michael Grandage. With the fear of mutiny always at the back of officers’ minds, crew members below deck were obliged to obey orders instantly and without question. As John Masefield, author of Sea Life in Nelson’s Time, put it: ‘A captain of a ship at sea was not only a commander, but a judge of the supreme court, and a kind of human parallel to deity. He lived alone, like a little god in heaven, shrouded from view by the cabin bulkheads, and guarded always by a red-coated sentry, armed with a drawn sword.’

But what happens when the human deity is crippled by doubt? When he is forced to make a terrible decision over life and death? Britten and his librettists E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier present a situation where a man’s innocence, a shining goodness as embodied in the character of Billy, is not enough to save him. And at the heart of it all lies an insinuating emotional ambiguity, making this opera a deeply disturbing and unforgettable experience.

Billy Budd recorded live in 2010 12A – contains bloody injury
Sung in English

For complete listings, follow the links below...

[BACK TO THE TOP][A] Indicates amateur performance