With the exceptions of the brief prologue and epilogue, the opera takes place in the year 1797 aboard the British warship HMS Indomitable. Arias | [1] Originally in four acts, the opera received its premiere at the Royal Opera House (ROH), London, on 1 December 1951. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 50, is an opera by Benjamin Britten to a libretto by the English novelist E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville. Budd is himself a new recruit to the ship, and falls prey to the treachery of Claggart, the Master-at-Arms. According to Uppman, Pears had never felt at ease with this scene, since it required a heroic style of singing which he felt he did not naturally possess. 344 pages. British-born Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) was a leading composer in a wide variety of genres, and several of his operas are among the most enduring of the 20th century.

Published by Boosey & … Classical, Contemporary, Opera. Even tonality itself, normally so comforting to twentieth century audiences, is used to such intentionally conflicted ends that it becomes a looming (if fractured) darkness that only the final B flat of the Captain's Epilogue can pierce. The officers, forgetting mention of the name of his prior ship, take his words as a deliberate provocation and order the men below decks. Officers, sailors, powder monkeys, drummers, mariners. Contact Below decks, the sailors rough-house, but Dansker remains aloof from the proceedings. Unable to speak, he strikes Claggart, killing him. The officers warn that Billy may cause trouble, but Vere dismisses their fears and expresses his love for the men under his command. [2] Britten later revised the work into a two-act opera, with a prologue and an epilogue. When Britten conducted the opera's premiere, in its original form of four acts, the performance received 15 curtain calls. Composed by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).

Billy Budd from Benjamin Britten. Of the leading roles, Peter Pears, Britten’s partner throughout their adult lives, sang Captain Vere. About | Billy is still unable to speak, but Dansker relates the events of the fight at Claggart's request. In 1960, Britten revised the score into a two-act version, in preparation for a BBC broadcast.

The orchestra helps bring out different shades in the vocal lines: the character of the Novice is associated with the plaintive sound of the saxophone, while Claggart is introduced by gruff tubas and timpani. Libretto. Billy says a jaunty farewell to the Rights o' Man, his former ship, innocent of what his words imply. Billy Budd is a truly through-composed opera: here, Britten has gotten beyond the need for constant sectionalization that marks his first theatrical entries. Boosey & Hawkes #M060013966. Billy Budd, Op. In 1952, NBC television presented a condensed version of the opera. Edward Morgan Forster and Eric Crozier after Herman Melville Premiere Of the three, only the captain survives to the final curtain. They had agreed on Billy Budd as a work to be adapted into an opera, with … World Premiere: London, Royal Opera House, 1951 (original four-act version)/1964 (revised version)An adaptation of Herman Melville’s novella, Billy Budd is one of the most gripping and successful operas of the 20th century. Composer of "Billy Budd" is a crossword puzzle clue. Perhaps most extraordinary in Britten’s portrayal of this hermetic society are the ensembles and choruses. LIEUTENANT RATCLIFFE (bass) Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids! It is based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville. For slipping and bumping into an officer, the Novice is sentenced to be flogged.

RED WHISKERS (tenor) Contribute | Britten himself conducted the premiere at London’s Covent Garden on December 1, 1951. [4] In 1948, Britten and Forster discussed whether Forster might write an opera libretto.

Captain Edward Fairfax Vere, an old man, reflects on his life and his time in the navy. Culture > Classical > Features When Britten's world was all at sea: How Billy Budd reflects the composer's own turbulent times. Set almost entirely aboard a British warship, the drama is a stark morality play about the inherent difficulty of recognizing the difference between good and evil. The historical context is important: Britain was at war with France, whose armies, under Napoleon Bonaparte, appeared invincible at that point. Duets | Billy is awaiting his execution when old Dansker brings him news that the crew, determined to prevent his death, is close to mutiny. Billy Budd, written to a libretto by E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier, is a formidable, even menacing work in which nearly every bar testifies to the distance -- in terms of musical sophistication and narrative/musical structure -- traveled by Britten between 1945 and 1951.

MR REDBURN (baritone) Home | Of this three-man creative team, Crozier was the only one concerned about the lack of female characters, citing a perceived lack of dramatic variety. The first performance of the revised two-act version was on 9 January 1964 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Georg Solti, The 1966 BBC Television broadcast was conducted by Charles Mackerras, with Peter Glossop (baritone) as Billy, Peter Pears as Vere, and Michael Langdon as Claggart. British-born Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) was a leading composer in a wide variety of genres, and several of his operas are among the most enduring of the 20th century. [6][7] Scholar Hanna Rochlitz has studied the adaptation and collaboration in detail.[8][9]. From the moment Billy sets foot on deck his fate is sealed, and yet, as Captain Vere himself tells us in the Epilogue (which takes place, as does the Prologue, many years after the actual action of the drama), Billy's death is not entirely without cause or devoid of positive repercussions. [3] The original four-act version has been occasionally revived, such as at the Vienna State Opera in 2001[13] and 2011. Betsy Schwarm is a music historian based in Colorado.

He orders the Novice to try to bribe Billy into joining a mutiny, and the broken-spirited Novice quickly agrees. This disturbed Britten, but Ghedini's opera gained little notice. Orchestra, Voice — — Classical, Contemporary, Opera. The crossword clue Composer of "Billy Budd" with 15 letters was last seen on the January 01, 1993.

Billy prepares for his execution in his cell. Billy refuses the bribe and believes he will be rewarded, but Dansker warns him to beware of Claggart. All three men meet in Vere’s cabin.

Defending Billy, Vere insists that accuser and accused should confront one another. The crew of the Indomitable works on deck. So the librettists reworked Melville’s tale, shifting emphasis, drafting powerful scenes, and creating singable dialog, going so far as to travel to the British harbour of Portsmouth to visit a sailing ship of the correct vintage. Vere refuses to speak, and Billy is condemned to hang. Britten takes it upon himself, however, to challenge through music the effort to justify the hanging of an innocent lad on the basis of nothing better then martial laws, and the large composite structures with which he works are built up of insinuating gestures that refuse to allow even a moment's peace; if justification is to be had, it will not be easily won. Vere's first appearance after the prologue had been originally the Captain's Muster, in which he addresses the crew at the end of Act 1; Britten cut this, explaining to his librettist Eric Crozier that he had never been happy with that scene,[14] so making Vere's first appearance on the ship a private moment alone in his cabin. They had agreed on Billy Budd as a work to be adapted into an opera, with a formal meeting in January 1949 to discuss the project. Britten chose Theodor Uppman to replace him, and Evans sang a different role, that of Mr Flint.[10]. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). At four o'clock that morning, the crew assembles on deck, and Billy is brought out. Operas | Based on the novel by Herman Melville, it is set in 1797 on a British naval vessel and is the only opera by a major composer to have an entirely male cast.

Having admired Britten's music since attending a performance of The Ascent of F6 in 1937, Forster first met Britten in October 1942, when he heard Peter Pears and Britten perform Britten's Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo at the National Gallery. Librettists for the opera were the novelist EM Forster and Eric Crozier, a young man of the theatre who had worked with Britten before and was brought in when Forster expressed doubts about his ability to write for the stage. Claggart, the Master-at-Arms, calls him "a find in a thousand", despite having a stammer. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Billy Budd is a purely masculine and, after Peter Grimes, the second “nautical” opera of Britten’s, in which the sea, the rocking of the waves and the gusts of wind are reflected in every single bar. 50 — Benjamin Britten.

Claggart tells Squeak, the ship's corporal, to keep an eye on Billy and give him a rough time.

At the same time a cutter approaches, returning from a merchant ship where it has pressed three sailors into the Royal Navy. Britten’s masterful operatic take on Melville’s tale of the clash between good and evil returns to the Met in John Dexter’s classic production. CAPTAIN'S CABIB BOY (spoken role) Indomitable during the 1797 French wars.

However, the sighting of a French ship interrupts Claggart's narrative. Critical reaction to the premiere, according to a December 1951 New York Times article, was "a very good press and a very fair one, enthusiastic if not really ecstatic". As he recalls Billy's blessing, he realises he has discovered genuine goodness and can be at peace with himself. DONALD (baritone)

Opera in Two Acts.

2ND MATE (baritone)

While Britten was composing the music, the Italian composer Giorgio Federico Ghedini premiered his one-act operatic setting of Billy Budd at the 1949 Venice International Festival.

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