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Billy Budd
7:30PM, Thursday, May 22, 2014
7:30PM, Wednesday, May 28, 2014
7:30PM, Saturday, May 31, 2014
7:30PM, Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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 English language with German and English surtitles


Conductor Donald Runnicles
Stage Production David Alden
Stage-Design Paul Steinberg
Costume-Design Constance Hoffman
Light-Design Andrew Cutbush
Chorus Master William Spaulding
Children’s Chorus Christian Lindhorst
Choreography Maxine Braham
Dramaturge Angelika Maidowski
Edward Fairfax Vere Burkhard Ulrich
Billy Budd John Chest
John Claggart Gidon Saks
Mr. Redburn Markus Brück
Mr. Flint Albert Pesendorfer
Leutnant Ratcliffe Tobias Kehrer
Red Whiskers Clemens Bieber
Donald Noel Bouley
Dansker Lenus Carlson
The Novice Thomas Blondelle
Squeak Alvaro Zambrano
Bosun Marko Mimica
1. Maat Ben Wager
2. Maat Simon Pauly
Red Whiskes Matthew Newlin
The Novice’s friend Stephen Barchi
Arthur Jones Heiner Boßmeyer
Gunners Mate Tadeusz Milewski / Hong-Kyun Oh
Solo Baritone Heiner Boßmeyer
Chorus Herrenchor und Herrenextrachor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Kinderchor der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Orchestra Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

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.