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Good and Bad Utopias in Billy Budd:
A Conversation with Mitchell Morris

Posted on: June 22, 2021

On June 26 at 10 am PT, LA Opera On Air will return to KUSC radio station with a broadcast of Billy Budd. With an all-male cast of 25 solo roles, and vast choral and orchestral forces, all conducted by James Conlon, it’s the most grandly scaled of Britten’s many operas. Liam Bonner, Richard Croft and Greer Grimsley take the leading roles. And, of course, June is also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month.

Benjamin Britten, the composer, was an openly gay man in a time and place where homosexuality was illegal. In this Behind the Curtain conversation, LA Opera's Connects Vice President Stacy Brightman speaks with Dr. Mitchell Morris, UCLA's chair of Musicology and chair for LGBTQ Studies; Dr. Morris speaks about Britten, his work, and how or if this opera is relevant in relation to how far the LGBTQ community has come since the opera’s premiere in 1951.

Please note, this frank conversation touches on adult themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.