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A grim, ghostly 'Billy Budd' on British stage

June 25, 2012 • Entertainment


This photo made available by the English National Opera Friday June 22, 2012 from their production of Billy Budd with Jonathan Summers, left, as Mr Redburn, Darren Jeffery, center, as Mr Flint, and Thomas Fetherstonhaugh as Cabin boy. The production opened June 18, 2012 in London. (AP Photo/English National Opera/Henrietta Butler)

LONDON (AP) — A ghostly gloom dominates the stage of the London Coliseum, where the English National Opera is closing out its season with Benjamin Britten’s 1951 shipboard tragedy “Billy Budd.”

Surely life aboard a British naval ship was never quite so grim and oppressive as it appears in director David Alden’s powerful but skewed new production, seen at its second performance Saturday night.

These sailors, whose choruses provide some of Britten’s most inspired music, look and move more like zombies than able-bodied seamen as they scrub the deck with heavy stones or slowly drag ropes across the stage. Even when they relax below decks by singing sea shanties, there is Login to read more

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