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Britten - Peter Grimes (The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Series)
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"The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual." (Benjamin Britten) Anthony Dean Griffey and Patricia Racette captivate in John Doyle's new production of
Britten's tortured masterpiece. Donald Runnicles leads the Met Orchestra in what the Boston Globe called "an inspired performance . . . full of passion and commitment yet free of bombast."
Unfortunately, in an opera whose orchestral interludes and depictions of the ever-present sea this production gives no hint of fishing boats, sea spray or the other aspects of the seaside village. Instead, producer John Doyle and set designer Scott Pask have built a full-stage wall of dark houses, through whose doors and windows different characters sing or watch. This enhances the claustrophobic nature of the narrative; a physical analogue to the way Grimes psyche is hemmed in by a stifling environment. But it also removes the realism of Britten’s conception and its sense of place while enforcing a static stage picture. Some of this is mitigated by TV director Gary Halvorson’s fluid camera work and closer observations of the singers, making the DVD more involving than the production was in the theatre. --Dan Davis
Peter Grimes is an all-regions disc in 16:9 ratio. Sound options include PCM Stereo and DTS 5.1 Surround. Sung in English, subtitles include English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Extras include Backstage at the Met with the singers and production team involved in the opera.
Top Customer Reviews
I also enjoyed Dessay's introduction, especially just as the performance was ready to
begin as she warns us to settle in for "the sad, horrible story of Peter Grimes."
It's a different beast watching it on screen than in the house, (of course), and I wonder if this is one of those productions better served by seeing it on screen than on stage. As a "movie" the set was simply tremendous and a perfect vehicle to display all the many characters that inhabit the Borough. The screen captures an intimacy not quite possible if one was forced to stare at the set the entire time, our eyes relieved and training on specific details rather than having to pick them out from the "whole." Generally, I'm less
inclined to like this than live, but this one really, really worked.
Patricia Racette is simply stunning as Ellen. No singer today sings in English like this girl. Every word, even on some of those (few) high notes was understandable and filled with meaning.Read more ›
The advantages of this production are particularly clear compared with some recent stagings of the opera (e.g., one at the Met in 2007, which I found terrible). It also seems to me that the attempts to transfer the action to the 20th century (e.g., Opera North) are misplaced. What about buying apprentices from a workhouse? In fact, the universal meanings of this opera become more, rather than less, clear when it is put into its proper historical and geographical context.
There are some inevitable technical slips related to a life performance (e.g., the Nieces singing "together we are safe" are not in fact together). For a perfect musical rendering, one should go Britten's Decca recording of 1958. The current film provides a perfect complement to this recording and an incomparable historical document.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was Benjamin Britten's own choice of staging, lighting, costumes, etc. He was a very literal man when it came to producing his operas; none of those bare stages with planks... Read morePublished on November 30, 2013 by Alsatian
Without any doubt, THIS DVD is the definitive interpretation of "Grimes". When I first saw it on PBS around 1970 or so it was my first exposure. Read morePublished on May 31, 2012 by xtro181
Like some of the other reviewers I found this to be yet another drab wall production from the Met (we saw in person their Flying Dutchman like this, black and white and with doors... Read morePublished on July 23, 2011 by Mr. DAVID Geer
We had not seen this production since it was on TV in the 1960's, and have sentimental ties to it. It is wonderful to see it again and to re-appreciate the stunning performances... Read morePublished on May 14, 2011 by BarbofAwrence
That's what it says right on the box, and for a change I enthusiastically agree. Everything works together in this opera - the dramaturgy and the music - to fulfill the fundamental... Read morePublished on January 18, 2011 by Gio
Thankfully, I rented this DVD rather than purchased it. I agree with the "birdwalker" review. This is largely a concert performance in costume. And what a shame. Read morePublished on December 19, 2010 by Martinufan
An opera like this one is surprising in many ways but this is a special BBC production of 1969 and I would like to insist first on the tremendous qualities of this production. Read morePublished on November 7, 2010 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Having seen all the DVDs, with the exception of Vickers, I was greatly looking forward to this HD version, in spite of a strange feeling that it would lose out to Langridge. Read morePublished on July 25, 2010 by Michael Cooke
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