Central City Opera To Present Colorado Premiere Of ‘Billy Budd’

By Nicole Kuchta

Central City Opera will present the Colorado premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera “Billy Budd.”

The opera, based on Herman Melville’s novel, “chronicles the idealistic title character’s forced enlistment in the British Navy aboard the Indomitable during the Napoleonic Wars and the moral dilemma that ensues over crimes he commits in self-defense.”

Ken Cazan will direct this large production as part of his “quest to mount every work by Benjamin Britten,” according to the press release. Joshua Hopkins will star in the title role, part of an all-male cast including Daniel Norman as Captain Vere, Kevin Burdette as John Claggart, Dennis Jesse as Mr. Redburn, Federico de Michelis as Mr. Flint, Brian Kontes as Lt. Ratcliffe, Benjamin Werley as Red Whiskers, Johnathan Hays as Donald, Matthew Burns as Dansker, Jonas Hacker as Novice, and Joseph Gaines as Squeak. John Baril will lead the orchestra.

In celebration of the premiere, Central City Opera will present the Anchor Initiative, “a series of free events designed to explore ‘Billy Budd’ and its musical literary and legal implications.” Additionally, free talks will precede each performance.

Performances will be held from July 13 – August 2, 2019 at the historic 550-seat jewel box opera house in Central City.