Billy Budd


Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)

Opera in a prologue, two acts and an epilogue; Libretto by Edward Morgan Forster und Eric Crozier after Herman Melville's „Billy Budd“; First performed on 1. December 1961, London (Royal Opera House); Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 22. May, 2013

In englischer Sprache mit deutschen Übertiteln

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The second of Benjamin Britten's “maritime” operas revolves around the dramatic events on board the warship “Indomitable”. As with PETER GRIMES before it, this story, too, has no truck with oceanic idylls and the image of the jolly sailor. Life at sea is tough, the code of conduct in the male environment unbending. The constant menace posed by skirmishes and the natural environment hardens the souls of individuals and leaves no room for love and affection except in perverted form.

Even though Captain Vere, master of the “Indomitable”, makes no bones of his fondness for the young seaman, Billy Budd, he does not come to his aid when the boy is condemned to hang for mutiny after killing Claggart, the sadistic armourer, in a fit of passion. Edward Morgan Forster and Eric Crozier wrote the libretto based on the novella by Hermann Melville, author of “Moby-Dick”. Britten, a life-long critic of injustice and ostracisation, composed the work in 1950/51 in response to a commission from the Royal Opera House Convent Garden. The opera was first performed on 1st December 1951.

Following on from the successful production of PETER GRIMES in January 2013, also by director David Alden and set designer Paul Steinberg, BILLY BUDD is another visually powerful and musically complex opera by Benjamin Britten to be presented by the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

A co-productionwith the English National Opera and the Bolschoi Theatre. Premiered at the English National Opera on 18. June, 2012
Präsentiert von taz.die tageszeitung, tip berlin and Wall AG.

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Accompanying Programme

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Accompanying Programme

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance