23 May 2010
Billy Budd / Così fan tutte, Glyndebourne, East Sussex
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 23 May 2010]
When Benjamin Britten wrote Billy Budd, he created great art, not closet autobiography. The main events of his opera unfold in 1797, at sea, on a man of war. All neat and tidy? If so, we may conveniently ignore the link between Britten’s homosexuality and the fact that two of the opera’s main characters, Captain Vere and John Claggart, have tortured feelings of attraction for Billy, the beautiful young man in their midst.