Peter Grimes


Britten Peter Grimes opera to a libretto by Montagu Slater. Directed 2012 by Richard Jones at the Teatro alla Scala. Stars John Graham-Hall (Peter Grimes), Susan Gritton (Ellen Orford), Christopher Purves (Captain Balstrode), Felicity Palmer (Auntie), Ida Falk Winland (Niece), Simona Mihai (Niece), Peter Hoare (Bob Boles), Daniel Okulitch (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs. Sedley), Christopher Gillett (Horace Adams), George Von Bergen (Ned Keene), Stephen Richardson (Hobson), and  Francesco Malvuccio (Boy). Robin Ticciati conducts the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala (Choras Master Bruno Casoni). Sets and costumes by Stewart Laing; lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin; movement direction by Sarah Fahie; directed for TV by Patrizia Carmine. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

This quickly became a best-seller with MDT Classics in England. Mike Ashman in the July 2013 Gramophone at page 86 noted the updated mise-en-scène and unusual handling of the chorus (twitching and dancing in an unnaturalistic manner)  by movement director Sarah Fahie. Still Ashman called this an "outstanding Grimes of our time" stating that "the pride and joy of Richard Jones's production . . . is its unerring grasp of the psychology and tiered relationship of all the characters." Apparently there was booing at the curtain call from the notoriously aggressive Milan audience. I wonder if this is included on the Opus Arte disc. Gramophone praised this disc again in the November 2013 Britten Centenary Issue at page 39 saying that "the entire cast gives a magnificent performance." Finally, David Shengold gives this a detailed and generally happy review in the October 2013 Opera News (page 61). Shengold observes, "Ticciati conducts admirably, obtaining wonderful sonority and rhythm in the pit.  This extraordinary, luminous score now belongs to the world." With all these fine comments from the experts, this figures to be an excellent recording!

Here's an interesting Opus Arte clip: