Peter_Grimes_1280x680_1516 © beyond/André Sanchez

Opera with one prologue and three acts (1945)
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Montagu Slater based on "The Borough" (1810) by George Crabbe
In English with German surtitles
Production of Theater an der Wien

Premiere: Saturday, 12 December 2015, 7 pm

Content

Spending time in the USA during World War II, Benjamin Britten longed to be back in England and, in George Crabbe’s narrative poem The Borough, found a text that struck a particular chord with him at that time. In the poem, Crabbe tells the story of a small fictional fishing village in Suffolk, Britten’s home. Back in England, Britten composed Peter Grimes in 1944/45 to a libretto adapted by Montagu Slater from themes in Crabbe’s text. Following the opera’s premiere at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, Britten was enthusiastically feted as “the new Purcell”. He had achieved his declared aim of restoring “to the musical setting of the English language a brilliance, freedom and vitality that have been curiously rare since the death of Purcell”. Britten succeeded masterfully in portraying the villagers, the communal mood and the mood of the individual characters. The ambivalent figure of Peter Grimes, torn by inner conflict, was the first of many roles he wrote for his partner, the tenor Peter Pears. The plot and the psychological events are given added depth by several symphonic interludes which evoke the dawn, a storm, the atmosphere of a Sunday morning and a moonlit night over the sea with overwhelming musical vividness. With its succinct musical expression and mesmerising tone colours, Peter Grimes has now become a central part of the repertoire.

The fisherman Peter Grimes is an outsider in his own village. He is suspected of maltreating his apprentices. Because one of them has died under mysterious circumstances, an investigation is held. However, nothing can be proved against Grimes. The only person who sides with the eccentric fisherman is a teacher, Ellen Orford. Although he has been advised not to do so, Grimes takes in another boy. The villagers keep a close and distrustful eye on him and the boy, and once again suspicions are aroused. Ellen wants to help, but Grimes refuses to allow her to interfere. The scrutiny of the village is torment to the fisherman, who dreams of peace. When he realises there is a danger that the villagers will lynch him, there is another fatal accident: the boy falls off the cliffs. Now the hunt for Grimes begins in earnest. The former captain, Balstrode, advises Grimes to sail out to sea and let his own boat go down with him in it.

Cast

Conductor

Cornelius Meister

Biography
Director

Christof Loy

Biography
Set design

Johannes Leiacker

Biography
Costume design

Judith Weihrauch

Biography
Choreography

Thomas Wilhelm

Biography
Light design

Bernd Purkrabek

Biography
Peter Grimes

Joseph Kaiser

Biography
Ellen Orford

Agneta Eichenholz

Biography
Auntie

Hanna Schwarz

Biography
Niece 1

Kiandra Howarth

Biography
Niece 2

Frederikke Kampmann

Biography
Balstrode

Andrew Foster-Williams

Biography
Mrs. Sedley

Rosalind Plowright

Biography
Swallow

Stefan Cerny

Biography
Bob Boles

Andreas Conrad

Biography
Reverend Horace Adams

Erik Årman

Biography
Ned Keene

Tobias Greenhalgh

Biography
Hobson

Lukas Jakobski

Biography
John, Grimes´ apprentice

Gieorgij Puchalski

Biography
Orchestra

ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien

Biography
Choir

Arnold Schoenberg Chor (Ltg. Erwin Ortner)

Biography

Photos Gallery

Peter Grimes 2015/16

Premiere: December 12th, 2015
Director: Christof Loy
Conductor: Cornelius Meister
New production of the Theater an der Wien
Photos: © Monika Rittershaus

Videos

Benjamin Britten PETER GRIMES - Sea Interlude -

Benjamin Britten PETER GRIMES - Sea Interlude -

Sea Interlude from Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes" (1945)
Musikalische Leitung: Cornelius Meister // Inszenierung: Christof Loy
Joseph Kaiser (Peter Grimes), Agneta Eichenholz (Ellen Orford), Andrew Foster-Williams (Balstrode), Hanna Schwarz (Auntie) u. a.
ORF Radio Symphonieorchester Wien
Arnold Schoenberg Chor

Premiere: 12. Dezember 2015
Neuproduktion des Theater an der Wien

PETER GRIMES "Now the Great Bear" (Joseph Kaiser)

PETER GRIMES "Now the Great Bear" (Joseph Kaiser)

Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes
Musikalische Leitung: Cornelius Meister // Inszenierung: Christof Loy
Joseph Kaiser (Peter Grimes), Andrew Foster-Williams (Balstrode)
Arnold Schoenberg Chor
ORF Radio Symphonieorchester Wien

Premiere: 12. Dezember 2015
Neuproduktion des Theater an der Wien

PETER GRIMES - Embroidery Aria - Agneta Eichenholz (Ellen Orford)

PETER GRIMES - Embroidery Aria - Agneta Eichenholz (Ellen Orford)

Oper in einem Prolog und drei Akten (1945) von Benjamin Britten
Musikalische Leitung: Cornelius Meister
Inszenierung: Christof Loy
Joseph Kaiser (Peter Grimes), Agneta Eichenholz (Ellen Orford), Andrew Foster-Williams (Balstrode) u. a.
ORF Radio Symphonieorchester Wien
Arnold Schoenberg Chor

Premiere: 12. Dezember 2015
Neuproduktion des Theater an der Wien