The Sunday Opera: Britten's "Billy Budd" from LA Opera
LA Opera is taking us to sea on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/24 3:00 p.m.) with their recent production of Benjamin Britten’s 1951 opera “Billy Budd.” Based on the novel by Herman Melville, the story centers on the naïve and innocent sailor who, after being transferred to a new ship, becomes the obsession of the Master-at-arms, John Claggart, who is accidentally killed by Billy when Claggart pushes him too far. This results in the hanging of the young Budd who is loved by the crew and, for whom they would mutiny, but Billy, true to his good nature, resignedly goes to his fate and is hanged for the death of Claggart. Liam Bonner is featured as Billy, Greer Grimsley is the hard-nosed Claggart, and Richard Croft is the ship’s captain, Capt. Vere. James Conlon conducts.
After the opera, Michael Kownacky will continue with more music by Britten in two of his orchestral works. We’ll begin with Britten’s Concerto for Piano featuring Barry Douglas at the piano who is joined by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Marek Janowski and conclude the afternoon with the Symphony for Cello and Orchestra with cellist Truls Mork and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Neeme Jarvi.