To celebrate the Colorado premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, Central City Opera is pleased to present the Anchor Initiative – a series of free events designed to explore Billy Budd and its musical, literary and legal implications.

All Anchor Initiative events are free and open to the public.


Ethics, Morality and Social Justice Panel

Panelists: Dr. Steven Bruns, Dr. Elissa Guralnick and Robert Atkinson, J.D.

Thursday, May 16, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
JCC Mizel Arts & Culture Center
(view map)

Saturday, May 18, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Boulder Public Library
(view map)

Musicologist Dr. Steven Bruns (CU Boulder), Literary Scholar Dr. Elissa Guralnick (CU Boulder) and Professor of Law Robert Atkinson J.D. (Florida State University) will combine their talents to discuss the musical, literary, and legal/moral implications of Billy Budd. What does Benjamin Britten’s music add to the already substantial weight of Herman Melville’s story? How does, if at all, the musical writing mimic the prose to either augment or detract from the original text. And how does a story about a warship during the Napoleonic wars relate to our political and social climate in the 21st century? There will be ample time for audience participation and questions after the moderated portion of the discussion.

Discussion with Herman Melville Scholar Dr. Dawn Coleman

Additional Panelists: Central City Opera General/Artistic Director Pelham G. Pearce, Jr., and Music Director John Baril

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
5:30 p.m.
Denver Central Library
Floor 5, Gates Room
(view map)

Dr. Dawn Coleman’s research focuses on nineteenth-century American literature, especially the work of Herman Melville, and issues of religion and secularity. Her book Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel shows how a range of mid-nineteenth century American authors appropriated the voice and figure of the popular preacher to claim moral authority for fiction. During this discussion, Dr. Coleman will cover Herman Melville’s life, as well as the Billy Budd novella and its complicated textual history. She will also discuss some of the more important arguments in the interpretation of Billy Budd that have unfolded since its recovery almost 100 years ago. The general and artistic director of Central City Opera, Pelham G. Pearce, Jr.,  and music director, John Baril will discuss the upcoming 2019 Central City Opera Colorado premiere production as it relates or does not relate to these issues. There will be ample time for audience participation and questions after the moderated portion of the discussion.