John Chest & Christian Van Horn Headline San Francisco Opera’s ‘Billy Budd’

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Alastair Muir/Glyndebourne Productions Ltd.)

The San Francisco Opera is set to present Britten’s “Billy Budd” to open the 2019-20 season.

The work returns to the company after a 15-year absence in Michael Grandage’s production, which was unveiled at the Glyndebourne Festival.

The opera is set to star John Chest in the title role in his company debut alongside William Burden as Edward Fairfax Vere and Christian Van Horn as the villainous John Claggart. The ensemble cast will also feature Philip Horst as Mr. Redburn, Wayne Tigges as Mr. Flint, Christian Pursell as Lieutenant Ratcliffe, Robert Brubaker as Red Whiskers, Brenton Ryan as a Novice, Christopher Colmenero as Maintop, Matthew O’Neill as Squeak, John Brancy as Donald, Edward Nelson as Bosun, Sidney Outlaw as First Mate, Kenneth Overton as Second Mate, Eugene Villanueva as the Novice’s Friend, Philip Skinner as Dansker and Hadleigh Adams as Arthur Jones.

Lawrence Renes conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and an all-male cast of 75 artists, including 44 men from the San Francisco Opera Chorus.

The opera will open on Sept. 7, 2019 and will run through the 22nd.