Cher Public

Billy’s club

When Winston Churchill was First Sea Lord, the story goes, an indignant admiral accused him of violating British naval tradition, to which Churchill replied that the only traditions of the British Navy were rum, sodomy and the lash. Churchill later denied he’d ever said this; he did say he wished he had. Certainly that had been the tradition of the navy in 1797, as depicted by Benjamin Britten in Billy Budd, his opera of 1951, now being superbly performed (twice more: Tuesday and Thursday) at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in a snappy Michael Grandage production touring from the Glyndebourne Festival.  Read more »

Teaching moment

“After putting off for a week trying to make some sense of the horrific mess that is the Met’s new Faust, I’m finally just going to give up. There are some disasters that bear writing about as what you might call teaching opportunities: this season’s Don Giovanni, for example, as a cautionary tale about the perils of timid conservatism. But there’s nothing to be learned from this Faust besides, perhaps, ‘never hire Des McAnuff to direct another opera under any circumstances’.” [Musical America]