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Catalogue No: 100278
Shop Product Code: 2031524
English National Opera, 1988
Soloists: Thomas Allen, Philip Langridge, Richard van Allan, Tim Alber
Orchestra, Chorus: Chorus and Orchestra of the English National Opera
Conductor: David Atherton
Director: Tim Albery
A cast of luminaries supported by the English National Opera gives a profound and masterful reading of Britten’s gripping opera of sadism and injustice aboard a British man-o'-war this month. Following the widely acclaimed Peter Grimes, released on Arthaus in May 2003, this production reunites Tim Albery’s direction with the phenomenal talent of Philip Langridge, often acclaimed as a natural successor to Peter Pears. The libretto, by E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier, is based on the literary masterpiece by Herman Melville and tells the tale of a young seaman, Billy Budd, who is persecuted malevolently by his master-at-arms, Claggart. Accused of mutiny, the stammering Budd accidentally strikes Claggart dead and the tormented Captain Vere has no alternative but to hang him. The opera explores many universal themes - the individual at odds with society, the corruption of innocence, the continual conflict of good and evil - which no doubt lay close to the heart of Britten's own pacifism and are themes common to much of his dramatic music. This production has Britain's leading operatic baritone, Thomas Allen, in one of his most distinguished roles, as Billy. He is noted not only for his superb abilities as a singer, but also for his acting skills, particularly necessary for the demanding role of the naive and virtuous character of Billy Budd. Philip Langridge as Captain Vere repeats his recently highly-praised portrayal.
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