Billy Budd
Billy Budd

Captain Edward Fairfax Vere is tormented by guilt over the case of Billy Budd, a sailor who was on board his ship many years earlier. The opera flashes back to the past to remember this time. Billy Budd is a loyal sailor, devoted to Captain Vere, but Clagart, the Master-at-Arms, takes an immediate dislike to him. Clagart encourages the ship's co...

Captain Edward Fairfax Vere is tormented by guilt over the case of Billy Budd, a sailor who was on board his ship many years earlier. The opera flashes back to the past to remember this time. Billy Budd is a loyal sailor, devoted to Captain Vere, but Clagart, the Master-at-Arms, takes an immediate dislike to him. Clagart encourages the ship's corporal, Squeak, to make life difficult for Billy, and he orders the Novice to bribe Billy into joining a mutiny. Billy refuses the bribe, but nevertheless Claggart tells Vere that Billy poses a threat of mutiny. Vere does not believe him. Later, Claggart and Billy are face to face and Claggart repeats the false charge. In a moment of fury, Billy strikes him, and Claggart dies. Billy is sentenced to death for his crime, and turns to Vere to save him, but Vere ignores his pleas. Shortly before the execution, Dansker, an old sailor, comes and tells him the crew is prepared to mutiny in his name, but Billy is now resigned to die. About to be hanged, his final words affirm his unfaltering loyalty: "Starry Vere, God Bless you!" The opera ends having switched back to the present. Vere, an old man, accepts that while he failed to save Billy, with Billy's blessing he has discovered true goodness, and he can now finally be at peace with himself.


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