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Peter Grimes

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 26, 2008
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Prologue. Peter Grimes!
  2. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Prologue. You sailed your boat round the coast
  3. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Prologue. Peter Grimes, I here advise you!
  4. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Prologue. The truth - the pity
  5. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Prologue. Interlude 1. Dawn
  6. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. Oh hang at open doors the net
  7. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. Hi! Give us a hand!
  8. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. I have to go from pub to pub
  9. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. Let her among you without fault cast the first stone
  10. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. Look! The storm comes!
  11. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. And do you prefer the storm
  12. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. They listen to money
  13. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. What harbour shelters peace
  14. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 1. Interlude 2. Storm
  15. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. Past time to close!
  16. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. Come on, boy!
  17. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. Have you heard the cliff is down
  18. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. Now the Great Bear and Pleiades
  19. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. Old Joe has gone fishing
  20. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 1. Scene 2. The bridge is down
  21. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Interlude 3. Sunday morning
  22. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. Glitter of waves and glitter of sunlight
  23. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. Child you're not too young to know
  24. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. This unrelenting work

Disc: 2

  1. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. Fool to let it come to this!
  2. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. People - ...No! I will speak!
  3. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. We planned that their lives should have a new start
  4. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. Now is gossip put on trial
  5. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. From the gutter
  6. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 1. Interlude 4. Passacaglia
  7. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 2. Go there!
  8. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 2. In dreams I've built myself some kindlier home
  9. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 2. Now!... Now!
  10. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 2. Scene 2. Peter Grimes! Nobody here?
  11. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Interlude 5. Moonlight
  12. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Assign your prettiness to me
  13. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Mr Keene!
  14. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Come along, Doctor
  15. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Mr Swallow, Mr Swallow
  16. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Who holds himself apart lets his pride rise
  17. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 1. Interlude 6
  18. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 2. Grimes!
  19. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 2. Peter, we've come to take you home
  20. Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33: Act 3. Scene 2. To those who pass the Borough


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 26, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000ZOSN1O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,969 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Angus W. Grant on August 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I am terribly fond of this recording of an opera that is blessed by having so many excellent and differing recordings to choose from. It is not the earthiest of versions, with both Rolfe-Johnson and Lott singing with great beauty and sensitivity. I don't think this makes the recording less dramatic, rather it is just a different approach. Rolfe-Johnson portays Grimes as somewhat of a lost mystic, the purity of his tone helping you to understand him as someone who is disconnected from the village. This is perfectly encapsulated in the "Now the Great Bear and Pleiades" aria in the pub, surely what Britten intended. His final monologue/mad scene is very moving and beautifully sung.

Lott, as always, produces some exquisite noises (The embroidery aria is gorgeous) and a sense of aloofness which could also be read as disconnectedness, hence the attraction to Grimes. It is a very powerful performance. Thomas Allen sounds every bit the old sea dog and is a wonderful contrast to Rolfe-Johnson. All the smaller roles are well cast (often luxuriously so with Simon Keenlyside, for example singing Ned Keene) and very convincing. The banter in the pub is amusing and effective and never resorts to corny accents or hammy acting.

The orchestra is sumptous and spledidly caught in what I think is demonstration class recording. The orchestral interludes are vital in this opera and have been treated as such. The climaxes (both vocal and orchestral) are thrilling. Listen to the pub scene during the storm where a most realistic soundscape has been created, especially with the chorus who sound very much part of the action. Their yelling of 'Peter Grimes' will send chills down your spine.

Buy it, even if you have several recordings already of this wonderful work.
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Format: Audio CD
Bernard Haitink brings an orchestral focus to this recording of Peter Grimes. There are some details in the brass and reeds that catch my ear, for instance the overlapping horn dissonances in the opening of Act II. The conductor uses the chorus as one large vocal instrument but sadly loses the clarity of the lyrics.

Anthony Rolfe Johnson handles the title role well and is able to evoke some sympathy toward the hard-driven outcast. His sinuous vocal descent on the word "Go" is masterful (Act II, Scene 2).

Thomas Allen is well suited for Balstrode, but Felicity Lott is not to my liking as Ellen Orford. Her art song delivery seems a little highbrow for this village school mistress. Having said that, her scene in Act II with Auntie and the two nieces is lovely. The four women blend like a string quartet, again perhaps owing to Haitink's direction.

There are some surprising gems in the supporting characters. For instance, Sarah Walker elevates Mrs Sedley from an opium-deprived alarmist to an impassioned advocate for the misused apprentice.

Peter Grimes has long been a favorite of mine and I feel we are fortunate to have a wealth of complete recordings to choose from. [Update: now at mid-price, this set is even more attractive.]
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