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2 items from 2014

Benjamin Britten's 'Billy Budd' Arrives at the L.A. Opera

21 February 2014 11:12 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Winding up a yearlong celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centennial, L.A. Opera presents the composer’s most ambitious opera, Billy Budd, featuring definitive staging by Francesca Zambello from her 1995 Covent Garden production. It stars Liam Bonner in the lead role, and is conducted by the company’s own James Conlon, with performances Feb. 22 through March 16. When it was composed in 1951, Billy Budd was Britten’s most daring work, addressing homosexual themes that were taboo at the time. Today, such themes are less challenging than the production’s technical logistics, including a levitating stage that gives audiences a view of the action above

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- Jordan Riefe

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Opera Review: An Uplifting Billy Budd at Bam

10 February 2014 9:45 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

In Britain’s naval heyday, a warship was a floating fragment of the empire — frail, distant, and solitary, yet tethered to the homeland by a thread of morals and laws. In this little world, full of sealed-in love and loathing, and populated solely by men, Benjamin Britten found the ideal vessel for an opera. And in Billy Budd, he found the ideal music for every moment of the seaman’s day. The rhythmic scraping of the deck, the heaving of ropes, the loading of guns, the ocean swells and bleak stillness of a windless day — it’s as if Britten had cast a spell on the physical world and turned it into a topography of sound.It’s difficult to describe the roundness of a specific sphere; it’s nearly as stymying to tease apart the seamless intensity of Michael Grandage’s Glyndebourne production, which is now in the midst »

- Justin Davidson

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2014 | 2013 | 2009

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