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c Royal Opera House

Britten Peter Grimes

From 17 March TO 31 March 2022
Covent Garden - London
Program

Britten : Peter Grimes

Cast
  • Conductor
    Mark Elder
  • Director
    Deborah Warner
  • Performers
    Peter Grimes: Allan Clayton
    Ellen Orford: Maria Bengtsson
    Auntie: Catherine Wyn-Rogers
    Captain Balstrode: Bryn Terfel
    Swallow: John Tomlinson
    Ned Keene: Jacques Imbrailo
BOOKING ON REQUEST

For all booking requests, please contact us by e-mail, specifying the city, the date and the number of tickets required at [email protected]

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Covent Garden - London Location Bow Street, Covent Garden - WC2E 9DD London Royaume-Uni

  • Venue's Capacity: 2256

Covent Garden's lyrical tradition goes back to the eighteenth century. It is here, for example, in a theatre constructed in 1732 by John Rich, the successful producer of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA, that the London public discovered several of Handel's operas.

Covent Garden then also staged plays and pantomime, a tradition which continued well into the thirties. The theatre has since hosted the most diverse productions, including cinema, cabaret, ice shows, and the circus. Today only opera and dance (The Royal Ballet) share the season.

 

As is the case with many an opera house. Covent Garden's life history was interrupted by fire, which twice destroyed the building. The second Royal Opera was inaugurated in 1809. Weber composed OBERON for the theatre, and conducted its premiere in 1826; the next year, Beethoven's F ID EU o was staged. From 1847, Covent Garden most often scheduled the Italian repertoire, with works by Rossini and Verdi. After the fire that demolished the second theatre in 1856, and until 1914, the third opera house built on the Covent Garden site became known as the theatre that hired the world's leading artists (like Nellie Melba, Caruso, and Adelina Patti, who refused all rehearsals by contract), and paid them royally. Several legendary conductors furthered the Royal Opera House's reputation after the First World War, such as Bruno Walter, and, of course, Thomas Beecham, who introduced the opera of Richard Strauss.

 

During the Second World War, Covent Garden became a "Palais de Dance" (sic). At the end of the war, following an intense period of negogiations. the ambitious decision was made to found a permanent opera company. Karl Rankl was appointed the first Music Director of the Covent Garden Opera Company (it became The Royal Opera in 1968) which gave its first performance in 1947.

 

Rankl's successors - Rafael Kubelik, Georg Solti, Colin Davis, and Bernard Haitink - have managed to maintain the company spirit and even the most celebrated guest artists are obliged to attend rehearsals.

Covent Garden

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Peter Grimes

PETER GRIME, A TRAGIC OPERA EXPLORING HOMOPHOBIA.

HISTORY

This opera was composed by Benjamin Britten and was first performed at Sadler's Wells, London, in 1945 as the Second World War ended. The libretto was adapted by Montagu Slater from a poem in George Crabbe's book, The Borough. The opera is set in a fictional village called The Borough, which bears some resemblances to Aldeburgh on the East Coast of England where Britten lived. The opera remains popular both in the UK and abroad and tells the tragic story of the fisherman, Peter Grimes. As Britten and Slater worked on the opera the story of the fisherman developed into a more complex tale than in the original book. Whilst still being labelled a villain by those around him, the audience are asked to believe that he is also a victim of his society. The work has been referred to, also, as an attack on homophobia.

Prologue

Peter Grimes' apprentice has died and he is being questioned at the inquest. The townsfolk have already decided that he is guilty and push for his punishment. The coroner clears him of blame, however, he advises Grimes not to take on another apprentice. Grimes feels that this is his community's unwillingness to give him a second chance and he is comforted by the schoolmistress Ellen Orford, who he wishes to marry.

Act 1

The townsfolk, represented by the chorus, sing about their weary daily round of toil in the town and at sea. Grimes is unable to work successfully alone and another apprentice is found for him by his friend, apothecary Ned Keene. John, the new apprentice, lives in the workhouse and Ellen offers to go and fetch him. John is brought to the pub that evening but Grimes is unsettled by his presence and sets off alone to his hut, braving a terrible storm.

Act 2

On Sunday morning Ellen, whilst talking to John, is horrified to find a bruise on his neck. Grimes, when confronted, claims it happened by accident. Ellen persists and Grimes hits out at her and runs off with the apprentice. Several people see this and a mob sets off for his hut. Grimes sadly laments the loss of his first apprentice but when he hears the mob approaching he gets ready to set off for sea. Whilst climbing down the cliff to the fishing boat John falls, despite Grimes warning him to be careful, and he is killed. The mob disperse when they find the hut is empty.

Act 3

During a dance, the village busybody, Mrs. Sedley, tries to convince people that Grimes is a murderer. After many days at sea he returns alone. Meanwhile a retired skipper, Captain Balstrode, has discovered a jumper on the beach which Ellen recognises as one she has made for John. Aroused by Mrs.Sedley the mob once more set off in search of Grimes. Grimes, dangerously unstable for some time, has been pushed over the edge by the death of John and he doesn't take much persuading by Balstrude to take his boat out to sea and scupper it. He is never seen again. The opera ends the following day as villagers carry on as if nothing has happened.

MAIN ROLES

Peter Grimes: a fisherman, tenor.
Ellen Orford: widow and schoolmistress, soprano.
Balstrode: retired merchant skipper, baritone.
Mrs Sedley: a widow and busybody, mezzo-soprano.
Ned Keene: apothecary, baritone.
John: Grimes' apprentice, silent role.

Covent Garden

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