Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten and Heather Harper- a Peter Grimes to treasure
As much as I do love the Langdridge and Vickers productions and found the Met production interesting, this is the best Peter Grimes. The opera is one of Britten's best anyway and deserved a great production to do it justice, and that is exactly the case with this production. It looks evocative and the staging has a certain spontaneity that you look for in a live performance and evokes the mood of the opera and the characters perfectly. The orchestral playing and chorus(who throughout act like a real crowd) are both outstanding, their attention to musicality and balance ensure for some genuinely hair-raising moments. It also is advantaged by the fact that it is conducted by the composer himself, and it is a perfectly judged performance in all regards. The performances are exceptional. In my mind Peter Pears is incomparable in the title role, he sings with a lot of beauty and power, and while his interpretation is intense and rough it is also troubled and moving also. Heather Harper as Ellen matches him perfectly with a commanding yet nuanced presence and a lyrical and brightly-tuned voice. Bryan Drake is a powerful Bulstrode, while Elizabeth Bainbridge is a characterful Auntie. Overall, a real treasure. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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