Thursday, January 11, 2018

Christopher Bolduc in Czech premiere of 4-act Billy Budd

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd in Prague
Blond barihunk Christopher Bolduc, who likes like he was born to sing the role of the handsome young sailor Billy Budd, will perform the role in the Czech premiere of Benjamin Britten's original four act version. The composer later revised the opera as a two-act opera with a prologue and an epilogue, which is how it generally performed today.

The opera will be performed at the Czech National Opera and features the Losers Cirque Company, a group of dancers and acrobats. The troupe helps director Daniel Špinar delve into the destructive power of sexuality that the composer wrote about in this piece, as well as Death in Venice. Bolduc physically resembles Theodor Uppman, who Britten chose for the world premiere (after Geraint Evans withdrew).

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd with the Losers Cirque Company
The opera is based on Herman Melville’s eponymous novel and tells the story of what took place on board a British battleship during the Napoleonic Wars. Britten was also a passionate pacifist, who possessed a great sense of justice, and he personally resented violence, be it in war conflicts or committed on individuals. All these topics are afforded a significant role in the opera, in which a handsome, naïve and trustful youth becomes the object of hatred on the part of a sadistic manipulator, master-at-arms Claggart, who falsely accuses Billy of inciting the crew to mutiny.

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd with the Losers Cirque Company
Billy inadvertently kills his torturer and is duly sentenced to death. Captain Vere faces an agonising decision: should he pardon the innocent boy, or should he abide by the law of war? He does not prevent the tragedy and the memory of his fateful failure will haunt him throughout his life. Billy Budd is the composer's second “nautical” opera, in which the sea, the rocking of the waves and the gusts of wind are reflected in every single bar of music.

Performances run from January 18-28, and again on April 25 and 27 .

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