Billy Budd

Benjamin Britten

Opera in two acts with a prologue and epilogue
Libretto: E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier based on the short story by Herman Melville
World premiere: 1 December 1951, London
Co-producted by: Den Norske Opera & Ballett
Premiere of this production: 18 January 2019, Oslo
In the original English with Polish surtitles

Please note that certain seats in the Gallery may have restricted view of the surtitles.​​

Before Edward Benjamin Britten composed the opera Billy Budd in 1951, he became friends with W. H. Auden. They wrote many songs together, and Britten drew a great deal of aesthetic and political inspiration from Auden. Before Annilese Miskimmon became a world-renowned opera director, her father got her to sing in the Northern Ireland Opera chorus, where from childhood she learned to glean universal human truths from stories sung in various conventions. Subversive and ever searching, she soon abandoned classic libretti for excluded or neglected works. Having staged Mascagni’s L’amico Frizt at Opera Holland Park and Grigory Frid’s The Diary of Anne Frank at the Opera Theatre Company, she became a well-known director of unknown operas. What prompted this penetrating artist, dubbed an opera feminist, to reach for the story of an old sea captain who, tormented by guilt, reckons with the death of a shipmate and his own life? One thing is certain – the director, remaining in constant demand on European operatic stages and fond of stripping down costumes, tearing off masks and breaking stereotypes, this time too won’t take any prisoners. Instead she will take the audience on a journey into unknown worlds, creating a bridge between what is universal and what is painfully close to us.




  • Patron of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Logo Perlage
  • Logo Sisley
  • Logo Albert Riele
  • Media patrons

  • Media patron of the event

  • Partners of the reception