Christopher Maltman won Artist of the Year in 2000/01 for his performance as Billy Budd. Maltman returned in 2006 to sing Guglielmo in “Così fan tutte.” In the climax of the scene known as “Billy in the Darbies,” the soon-to-be-hanged sailor explains to his friend, old Dansker, how he interprets what has happened on board the H.M.S. Indomitable: “I had to strike down that Jemmy Legs—it’s fate. And Captain Vere has had to strike me down—fate. We are both in sore trouble, him and me, with great need for strength, and my trouble’s soon ending, so I can’t help him longer with his. Starry Vere, God bless him—and the clouds, darker than night for us both. Dansker of the Indomitable
, help him, all of you. Dansker, goodbye! And farewell to ye, old Rights o’ Man.
Never your joys no more. Farewell to this grand rough world! Never more shipmates, no more sea, no looking down from the heights to the depths. But I’ve sighted a sail in the storm: the far-shining sail that’s not fate, and I’m contented. I’ve seen where she’s bound for. She has a land of her own where she’ll anchor for ever. Oh, I’m contented. Don’t matter now being hanged, or being forgotten and caught in the weeds. Don’t matter now. I’m strong, and I know it, and I’ll stay strong, and that’s all, and that’s enough.” Robert Spano conducts the orchestra of Seattle Opera.