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“The all-male cast… is excellent from top to bottom.”

Yes. Yes, that is what the review of Los Angeles Opera’s Billy Budd actually said. And what’s more, the company’s press office used it as a pullquote.

72 comments

  • kashania says:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that sex sells, so all the power to LAO marketing folks for doing what they can to sell an opera (including the shirtless men). I like the cheekiness of the quote and LAO’s decision to use it.

  • Signor Bruschino says:

    Whenever there is a ‘show us your tits’ Billy Budd production, I always wonder if the novella made any references to what time of year the story takes place. If its a summer cruise, ok, but any other time of year, the waters off the British coast are a cold, windy place- Any Melville scholars out there with the answer?

    • bluecabochon says:

      I suppose that if the text refers to the “ruddy-tipped daisies” on Billy, we ought to get a proper look at them!

    • Henry Holland says:

      Not a Melville scholar, but there are two mutinies he references: Spithead, which lasted from April to May 1797 and the Nore which was in May as well (there were other mutinies around that time too). Vere in the opera, of course, says “the summer of 1797, during the French Wars…” and from an online copy of Melville’s book:

      It was a hot noon in July; and his face, lustrous with perspiration, beamed with barbaric good humor

      The window for Billy and the crew to be shirtless is a pretty small one!

      • tiger1dk says:

        Does it really matter if a sailor was likely to be shirtless on a naval ship around 1800? I doubt that anybody goes to the opera for a naval history lesson. Of course, I could be wrong -- there is, after all, no way to account for taste or preferences.
        For what is worth, I found http://bobrowen.com/nymas/warof1812paper/506332.jpg

        • Krunoslav says:

          “Does it really matter if a sailor was likely to be shirtless on a naval ship around 1800?”

          One would like to think it mattered to many of his fellow sailors.

          • tiger1dk says:

            Kruno, this might come as a shock to you but we are talking about an opera based on a work of fiction….

            • FragendeFrau82 says:

              tiger, can we transfer this comment over to the Werther thread and the complaints about costume, sets, etc..? ;-) And this from people who are thrilled with any bizarre set, nudity, etc etc suddenly become nit-picky about the height of a ceiling…

            • kashania says:

              FragendeFrau: With due respect, this kind of observation is not helpful. Are the people who are “hrilled with any bizarre set, nudity, etc” the same ones nit-picking about the height of a ceiling? The opinions on parterre vary greatly, yet some participants insists on randomly lumping arguments together to try to demonstrate some kind of hypocrisy that doesn’t exist.

            • kashania says:

              “hrilled” as well as “thrilled”

            • Krunoslav says:

              Not really, since I read “Billy Budd, Sailor” in graduate school and have taught it as well.

              Or maybe you didn’t see that the point of my comment was Parterre queershchina and hardly to insist on realism?

  • NPW-Paris says:

    One of F. Zambello’s better jobs. I’d be very happy to see it back in Paris.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    I just glanced over on the left, to the ad for the Combatimento. Ticket’s $175?
    Who pays such money for such things?