Vere, Capt. Edward Fairfax

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(Britten: Billy Budd). Ten. Capt. of HMS Indomitable. First seen as an old man, remembering the action on his ‘74’ in the war against the French. He is loved by his men, who call him ‘Starry Vere’ and Billy is thrilled to be part of the crew. Vere chairs a court‐martial after Billy strikes Claggart dead in front of him. The captain knows it was an accident but, despite Billy's entreaties, he refuses to intervene to save his life. In an epilogue, Vere recalls the trial and how he was the only one who could have saved Billy Budd from the gallows. Arias: I am an old man; Claggart, John Claggart, beware! Among successful singers of this role are Jean Cox, Graham Clark, Nigel Douglas, Philip Langridge, and Anthony Rolfe Johnson. Created (1951) by Peter Pears.

Subjects: Opera.

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