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Britten: Billy Budd / Nagano, Hampson, Rolfe-johnson, Et Al

Release Date: 05/19/1998 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 421631   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ashley HollandAnthony Rolfe JohnsonAndrew BurdenMartyn Hill,   ... 
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé OrchestraManchester Cathedral Choir BoysHallé City Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 28 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A half-decade after his emergence as a master of dramatic form in opera, with 'Peter Grimes' in 1945, Benjamin Britten chose Herman Melville's last story, fraught with moral conflict and maritime ambience, as the source for 'Billy Budd.' The four-act opera opened at Covent Garden in 1951 but was reconfigured in two acts for broadcast by the BBC a decade later and was released in that version on LP in 1968. This Erato release is the world premiere recording of the original, complete form.
The musical setting on board a late 18th-century English warship with an all-male cast is exciting and engaging, with hints of hornpipes, sea chanteys, and formal military protocol. Equally compelling are the powerful yet haunted performances of
Read more Anthony Rolfe Johnson and Eric Halvarson as the Captain and Master-at-Arms of the H.M.S. Indomitable, both of whose lives are profoundly touched by the ingenuous title character, sweetly sung by Thomas Hampson, who is shanghaied to serve on the ship in its pursuit of the French. Kent Nagano himself captains the highly wrought elements of this opera with brilliant balance and acute attention to Britten's nuances of color, timing, and dynamic.
BBC Music (3/98, p.68) - Performance: 4 (out of 5), Sound 5: (out of 5) - "...Thomas Hampson is a definitive Budd, captured here in glorious voice....Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Vere and Eric Halfvarson as Claggart...sing beautifully, as does the supporting cast, and Nagano moves the score along fluently enough." Read less

Works on This Recording

Billy Budd, Op. 50 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ashley Holland (Bass), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), Andrew Burden (Tenor),
Martyn Hill (Tenor), Eric Halfvarson (Bass), Russel Smythe (Baritone),
Richard Van Allan (Bass), Christopher Gillett (Tenor), Christopher Maltman (Baritone),
Matthew Hargreaves (Bass), Thomas Hampson (Baritone), Simon Thorpe (Baritone),
Robert Johnston (Tenor), Gidon Saks (Bass), Simon Wilding (Bass),
William Dazeley (Baritone)
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Manchester Cathedral Choir Boys,  Hallé City Chorus  ... 
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951/1960; England 
Date of Recording: 05/1997 
Venue:  Live  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 148 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Original Version: 1951 (Four Acts) 

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