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Britten:  Billy Budd
Britten Billy Budd
Actors: Peter Pears, Peter Glossop, Michael Langdon, John Shirley-Quirk, Robert Tear
Director: Benjamin Britten
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     1hr 55min



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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Pears, Peter Glossop, Michael Langdon, John Shirley-Quirk, Robert Tear
Director: Benjamin Britten
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: DTS, Classical
Studio: Decca
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/08/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1970
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1970
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 55min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Stereo Sound Lack
William H. Price | 08/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Britten: Billy Budd This recording was originally made in 1966 on the BBC. It has been carefully reconstituted in B&W and mono. Color and stereo would be nice, but the overall quality is such that their absence is not important. Personally I believe the B&W format improves the darkness of the opera. I highly recommend."
An experience not to be missed
Archie | Ottawa ON Canada | 04/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I feel I should write a review after going through this emotionally loaded production, but there is so much to it that I find myself at a loss for words.

"Billy Budd" was not all that well received when it first appeared but many now consider it Britten's best, "Peter Grimes" included. Perhaps it needed to be compressed from the original 4 act opera to the 2 act one that is now performed. Certainly it is now a very tight opera that does not seem to have any superfluous bits.

This was recorded in 1966 in a BBC studio wherein there was built an accurate set giving the illusion of a fully-manned man-of-war. The action takes place within this enclosed claustrophobic world of which the captain is king and feels he must must allow the laws to be enforced. The orchestra (excellent) played on an adjacent stage while the filmed action took place on the set. The actor/singers were most appropriately cast and were all wonderful.

The camera work is superb; and with cutting and camera placements illustrates the characters and the moral problems much more clearly than would be experienced by a theatre audience. It feels as though the viewer is there and participating emotionally. I suspect that the fact that it is in black and white, and not coloured, helps to emphasise the dilemmas that are presented.

The original recording has been painstakingly remastered. The picture is very clear; and the sound, albeit mono, is surprisingly good.

I will not get into a discussion of the issues raised by Britten and his librettists. There is certainly a lot to think about and discuss. I hope that those of you who read this review and buy the DVD will enjoy doing so.

If you admire the works of Benjamin Britten, this is a must buy. If you are open to being turned on to the works of Benjamin Britten, you cannot do better than start with this production."
Old Film Triumph
Robert Baksa | new york state | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am not a great fan of filmed opera. Nor am I a great fan of Britten's operas. They can be a moving experience since he has a good eye for a great story but his music leaves me cold. The best I can say for it is that is interesting. But this performance, as a music drama, is riveting. Everything comes together to create a wonderful realization of Melvile's story. One of the great treats was seeing early work by singers who would become prominant on the English opera scene...including a few lines sung by a pre-bearded Ben Luxon. Wonderfully conducted by Makerras, this DVD puts the more recent Glyndebourn production in the shade."