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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Opera's Billy Budd?

Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Opera's Billy Budd?

Audience and press reviews of Britten's grand opera, directed by Deborah Warner.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

24 April 2019 at 11.05am | 14 Comments

Press reviews:

The Telegraph ★★★★★
The Stage ★★★★★
The Independent ★★★★
FT ★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★
Evening Standard ★★★★
MusicOMH ★★★★
The Guardian ★★★
The Times (£) ★★★
The Arts Desk ★★★

More press reviews will be added in due course.

What did you think of Billy Budd?
Share your reviews via the comments below, or by using #ROHbillybudd.

Billy Budd runs until 10 May 2019. There are a limited number of tickets available. In addition, a limited number of tickets are available via Friday Rush.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Production Principal Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Dr and Mrs Michael West, Hamish and Sophie Forsyth and the Billy Budd Production Syndicate.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

24 April 2019 at 11.05am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Billy Budd, by Deborah Warner, Production, review, your reaction

This article has 14 comments

  1. Bill Worley responded on 24 April 2019 at 11:10pm Reply

    This has to be one of the best opera performances I have seen at CG for a very long time. Sensible production, brilliant cast and an outstanding conductor. Bravi

  2. Tim Street responded on 25 April 2019 at 8:37pm Reply

    Why so few performances?

  3. Anne Simons responded on 30 April 2019 at 12:03pm Reply

    Great evening and wonderful to hear such good diction from the cast. Every word was clear! My only quibble - why was this not given an early start at 19:00 as is usually done when an Opera would otherwise end near 23:00? It puts audience members who live further away at a considerable disadvantage. My enjoyment of the last act was spoilt by wondering if I was going to miss the last train home. Opera is not just for Londoners!

    • Richard responded on 8 May 2019 at 7:49pm

      I quite agree with Anne Simons. It was most inconsiderate to start at 7.30 for such a long evening. People were not leaving till after 11 p.m. by the time the curtain calls were over. In fact many people round me were leaving (and not very quietly) during the famous 38 chords and even worse during the Billy in the Darbies.episode. I booked to stay in London overnight adding to the expense of the evening knowing it would be a tight squeeze to get a train home. Why was it did it not start at 7 p.m..

  4. John Rose responded on 30 April 2019 at 4:47pm Reply

    I totally agree with Anne Simmons regarding the performance and I had very similar feelings re. "last train home". My guess is, if I were to follow this up with a letter to management,the reply would be that as Billy B .was a late addition to the schedule, this affected the use of "stage management" time,
    I can just understand that argument.....but by so doing, it pays scant regard to the audience and ITS needs. What other reason could there possibly be for such timings?. After all, the show had been touted around Europe and they must by now know its length.
    Failing that, someone at ROH has boobed in a big way!!...
    It would be good to hear an "official "reason. I notice that all five performances.start at 7.30pm

  5. John M. responded on 3 May 2019 at 10:34pm Reply

    Billy Budd last Monday evening was one of the best things I have seen at Covent Garden in a long time and certainly the best staging of Billy Budd I have ever seen. The greatness of this opera was clear to me for the first time. Excellent production with cast, chorus, orchestra and conductor all performing at an exceptionally high level. Much to take away from this performance, not least the image of that simple yet emotionally overwhelming blessing that Billy gives Vere as Billy goes down into the darbies. A lovely, lovely evening!

  6. Julian Hinton responded on 4 May 2019 at 12:03pm Reply

    I would like to agree with Anne Simons. I am going on Tuesday and getting home afterwards is going to be a real challenge. I just hope the worry doesn't affect the enjoyment of the performance. A 22.30 finish is OK but 23.00 (or even 22.50) is a real problem. We all have to get home. We don't all live in London.

  7. RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN responded on 7 May 2019 at 4:30pm Reply

    Heartfelt agreement about the late starting time! very inconsiderate of the management

  8. David G responded on 8 May 2019 at 1:40pm Reply

    Magnificent production (some of the most sensitive and effective lighting I’ve seen for a while) with superb soloists, and a chorus on top form. Reinforced Billy Budd as being a masterpiece, and arguably Britten’s greatest opera.
    Orchestral playing not as brilliant as under Pappano (some of those 35 chords decidedly ragged on May 7th performance) but, overall, the performance was beautifully paced.
    Agree with others, start time ridiculous for a long opera. Too late for last train to Bristol so (driving) got back to Gloucestershire at 1.20am. ROH please remember: not all opera-goers live in London!

  9. Allan responded on 9 May 2019 at 12:17pm Reply

    My first Billy Budd. Enjoyed it thoroughly, especially Claggart's "Credo". Couldn't warm to de Vere. Massive chorus singing. Agree with many other comments re start time. Very inconsiderate of the RoH.

    **** from me.

  10. Terry responded on 10 May 2019 at 12:14am Reply

    Would like to give credit when it is due. I have been very critical of many of the ROH’s calamitous productions over recent years. Billy Budd was magnificent in every respect.
    Thank you to all involved for a wonderful if emotionally draining evening. Will remain in our memories for a very long time.

  11. Jon responded on 11 May 2019 at 12:55pm Reply

    re: the opinions above criticising the 7:30 start time I'd like to thank the management for it. I live outside London too and have found it hugely stressful getting to the ROH for early starts throughout the Open Up project. A 7:30 start makes for a much easier trip and allows some time to compose myself before curtain up. If you're a working person in the provinces it is very hard to get a train to London anytime before 5:30 and when the train is not infrequently overcrowded, late or cancelled, the safety valve of a 7:30 start is hugely appreciated. The ROH archive shows that 7:30 has been the regular start time for most of the years between 1960 and 2016. Please could we go back to a better balance of 7:30 and early starts? And maybe more weekend matinees for the Cinderellas who need to get off by 11pm on weeknights?

  12. Robin Bruce responded on 11 May 2019 at 1:20pm Reply

    Loved the singing, but why the ?1960s uniforms? A hundred years after filling and hanging were abolished? The ‘hats off and bowing’ instead of saluting jarred as well.

  13. Hellema Ibrahim responded on 27 May 2019 at 6:59pm Reply

    What a wonderful evening! The production, the music were fantastic. Regarding the polemic of the starting time, I'm really happy with 7:30!

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