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Britten: Billy Budd



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This live recording of Billy Budd comes from the 2010 Glyndebourne Festival. Billy Budd, Britten and Glyndebourne share an interesting history. In 1950 Benjamin Britten wrote to Ian Hunter, Artistic Administrator of the Edinburgh Festival, requesting that the first performance of his new opera Billy Budd take place at the Festival in 1951. Hunter indicated that they were 'unanimous in welcoming the proposal' and Glyndebourne Opera, as the resident company were the obvious partner. Hunter was possibly unaware of the schism that existed between John Christie and Britten, and maybe the old wounds ran deep, as six months later, Sadlers Wells, were in the frame, the costs subsequently proving prohibitive, so Hunter unsuccessfully re-approached Glyndebourne offering to meet all costs, but Royal Opera Covent Garden ended up producing the first production in London in October 1951.

This Billy Budd is Glyndebourne's first production (and Director Michael Grandage's first foray into opera), but such is Glyndebourne's pedigree with Britten that it was an eagerly anticipated production that does not disappoint. Jacques Imbrailo as Billy Budd is simplicity at its best, with a warmth of tone and excellent diction. Iain Paterson as Redburn the First Lieutenant, leads the officers powerfully, his trio with Lieutenant Ratcliffe (Darren Jeffery) and Flint (Matthew Rose) is as good as any moment in opera can get.

In the pit for this production is the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the command of the incomparable Sir Mark Elder passionately conveying the majesty, the mystery and the drama within Britten's score.
Facts
Item number GFOCD 017-10
Barcode 878280000177
Release date 02/01/2013
Category 20th Century
Label Glyndebourne
Media type CD
Number of units 3
Performers
Artists Ainsley, John Mark
Owen, John
Wallace, Michael
Read, Miley
Composers Britten, Benjamin
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