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Billy Budd

Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)

Informationen Zum Werk

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, 2014

In English language with German and English surtitles

3 hrs 15 mins / 1 interval

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



Moritz Gnann

Stage Production

David Alden


Paul Steinberg


Constance Hoffman


Andy Cutbush

Chorus Master

Raymond Hughes

Children's Chorus

Christian Lindhorst


Maxine Braham

Edward Fairfax Vere

Richard Croft

Billy Budd

John Chest

John Claggart

Gidon Saks

Mr. Redburn

Seth Carico

Mr. Flint

Derek Welton

Lieutenant Ratcliffe

Andrew Harris

Red Whiskers

Clemens Bieber


Simon Pauly


Lenus Carlson

The Novice

Andrew Dickinson

First Mate

Dong-Hwan Lee

Second Mate

Stephen Barchi


Robert Watson

The Novice's friend

Thomas Lehman

Arthur Jones

Heiner Boßmeyer

Voice / Baritone Solo / Basso Solo 1

Heiner Boßmeyer

Gunner's Mate / Basso Solo 2

Hong-Kyun Oh

About the performance

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.

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A co-productionwith the English National Opera and the Bolschoi Theatre. Premiered at the English National Opera on 18. June, 2012