Britten: Billy Budd

Audio CD / 2008

After the award-winning recording of Brittens Turn of the Screw, Daniel Harding and Ian Bostridge meet again around Britten in his great masterpiece, Billy Budd. This new recording is a new asset to the label, which has planned a complete Britten opera cycle. The opera, in its definitive 2-act version, was recorded during 2 concert performances at the Barbican Hall on 7th & 9th December 2007. As principal guest conductor, Daniel Harding conducts the London Symphony Orchestra. The all-male cast boasts, along with Ian Bostridge as Captain Vere, American baritone Nathan Gunn in the role of Billy Budd, and Israeli bass-baritone, Gidon Saks, portraying the fiendish Claggart. Billy Budd is one of Brittens greatest masterpieces, containing three of his major operatic roles. Set amid the claustrophobia and cruelties of a battleship in Nelsons time, it shows the ruthless destruction of good-hearted able seaman Budd by sadistic master-at-arms Claggart, and the mental conflicts of intellectual but weak-willed Captain Vere, who is powerless to prevent it. The music is suitably gripping, by turns intense and exciting, and full of the insights and inspirations typical of its composer.

“Nathan Gunn gets across Billy’s wide-eyed innocence with plenty of youthful vocal energy but sings the “Billy in the Darbies” swansong with eloquent restraint.” (The Telegraph)