Glyndebourne’s production of Britten’s sea-faring opera Billy Budd will be performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in February 2014.


The work, which is based on a book by the American author Herman Melville, tells the tragic tale of a naïve young sailor on a British ship during the Napoleonic wars.

Grandage directed the production – his first opera – at Glyndebourne in 2010 and it was revived for the 2013 festival. When asked why he chose Britten’s work as the first opera he tackled he said: ‘I was brought up by the sea and Britten’s music has always moved me; I was particularly keen that the first opera that I directed should be in English. I’ve seen Billy Budd many times in the past and have always been struck by the extraordinary depth of character in the piece.’

Britten himself spent a lot of time in New York during the 1930s and 1940s, so it’s appropriate that his opera is heading there next year.

The cast will be led by baritone Jacques Imbrailo (pictured above), who has played the title role in the production's two previous outings, and will also include tenor Mark Padmore as Captain Vere and Brindley Sherratt as Claggart. Sir Mark Elder will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

BAM’s executive producer, Joseph V Melillo said: ‘BAM’s history with Glyndebourne Festival dates back to 2001 with The Makropulos Case. We are thrilled to bring this powerful production of Billy Budd to New York audiences.’

Glyndebourne's general director, David Pickard, said: 'Glyndebourne has always taken great pride in the quality of the productions we create and we are delighted that in 2014 we will be sharing and celebrating on of Britten's finest works with US audiences.'

Billy Budd will be staged at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House on 7, 9, 11 & 13 February at 7.30pm. For more information visit the BAM website.


Picture: Richard Hubert Smith