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Benjamin Britten's 'Billy Budd' at the Bolshoi

Benjamin Britten's 'Billy Budd' at the Bolshoi
By Christopher Cummins with AGENCIES
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The famed Bolshoi theatre and the English National Opera have joined forces to produce the Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Billy Budd.'

The opera, based on the final novel of the same name by Herman Melville, is an intense psychological drama about young sailor, Billy Budd.

The show is directed by David Alden:“One could maybe say its ultimately a pessimistic, dark view of human nature, but it is so full of passion and love and beautiful, touching music. It is the music, it is Britten’s music which lifts this fairly tragic and dark story up into something which is actually joyous.”

William Lacey conducts the Russian orchestra:“I think, there are some aspects of this music which are familiar to them because Britten was influenced by Russian music. He was influenced by Shostakovich and Prokofiev. So, there is a certain amount of shared language.”

Ukrainian baritone Iurii Samoilov sings the part of John Claggart, Master-at-Arms:“I had to perform some acrobatic stunts, which you will see in the first act of this performance, for the first time. With the help of assistants I am standing on people’s shoulders, they are rotating me in the air. “

‘Billy Budd’ was first performed in 1951 at London’s Royal Opera House in 1951 conducted by Benjamin Britten.