CENTRAL CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Central City Opera is taking on the biggest show in its history, Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd,” during the 2019 Festival. There are some 60 performers on the stage at one time, decked out in 18th century period costumes, telling a brutal story of lost innocence and lost life.
“It’s more thrilling than I can begin to describe,” said Ken Cazan, director of “Billy Budd.”
Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd” is based on the short novel of the same name by Herman Melville. It tells the story of a young man who joins the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Jealousy leads to an act of betrayal that ends in tragedy, and Billy Budd faces court martial.
The story is lifted by the music of 20th century composer Benjamin Britten. It doesn’t just advance the plot, it develops the characters as well.
“You’re also going to get Benjamin Britten at the beginning of his peak,” Cazan told CBS4.
Part of the Central City Opera experience is the opera house itself. The 140-year-old theatre is an intimate space, beautifully appointed with deep history.
“It’s a massive piece in a wonderful jewel box space, which means everything is going to come across. You don’t miss anything in this house,” said Cazan. “This is my 18th year here, and I think, my 20th or 21st production, and it’s just…everything hits you like a ton of bricks.”
In addition to “Billy Budd”, the Central City Opera 2019 Festival also includes “Madam Butterfly”, “The Blessed Damozel”, “Litanies to the Black Virgin”, and “Encore: A Musical Revue.”