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Britten: Peter Grimes [Blu-ray] [2013]

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Graham-Hall, Susan Gritton, Christopher Purves, Felicity Palmer, Robin Ticciati
  • Directors: Richard Jones, Patrizia Carmine
  • Writers: Benjamin Britten
  • Producers: Teatro alla Scala
  • Format: Classical
  • Language: French, German, English, Japanese, Korean
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 8 April 2013
  • Run Time: 168 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BMTTXZG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,256 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Britten
PETER GRIMES

Teatro alla Scala


Peter Grimes John Graham-Hall
Boy Francesco Malvuccio
Ellen Orford Susan Gritton
Captain Balstrode Christopher Purves
Auntie Felicity Palmer
First Niece Ida Falk Winland
Second Niece Simona Mihai
Bob Boles Peter Hoare
Swallow Daniel Okulitch
Mrs. Sedley Catherine Wyn-Rogers
Rev. Horace Adams Christopher Gillett
Ned Keene George Von Bergen

Chorus & Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala
Conductor Robin Ticciati
Director Richard Jones

Recorded live at the Teatro all Scala, June 2012

The Italian and international press were unanimous in their praise for Peter Grimes at La Scala, which revived the tradition of Britten's operas on the lyric stages of Italy. A strong British cast was marshalled by the baton of Robin Ticciati, who has already won golden opinions for his opera conducting. Richard Jones's production focuses on the fisherman as the outsider in a brutal society, cut off by mutual suspicion and misunderstanding: an unforgettable production of an opera that never loses its power.

Running time: 168 minutes
Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/JP/KR
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Customer Reviews

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This production captures the pain and anguish of Britten's powerful work devastatingly well. It is quite shocking in it's portrayal of a community of damaged and unpleasant people who drive an equally damaged inhabitant to suicide. No punches are pulled and John Graham-Hall delivers a searing performance as Grimes. The "modern" setting and bizarre choreography add to the urgency and almost unbearable edginess of the experience and despite a missed opportunity by which we have rather disruptive close ups on the orchestra during the sea interludes rather than some more evocative theatrical experience or projections - the overall production is landmark. Vocally - the performances are uniformally of the highest standards and young conductor Robin Ticciati does more than justice to one of Britten's finest and most controversial works. The blu ray offers both excellent visual definition and a well balanced sonic field with considerable depth and resonance. Although this production may not be to everyone's taste it is certainly without doubt one of the most powerful and disturbing productions yet to be staged and has a truly contemporary urgency.
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Format: Blu-ray
My yardstick for performances of Grimes has long been the ROH Covent Garden performance of the 1970s with Jon Vickers. That production was leading edge atmospheric for its time, and Vickers interpretation searingly beautiful. Then there was a very good production at about the same time by ENO. And not least on CD the Britten/Pears recording, which has to be the authentic portrayal. The recent staging on Suffolk beach is fascinating but hardly a great interpretation or performance. I happened to buy this La Scala production because I wanted a Blu Ray recording, and it was in a 5xDVD bargain box set of Britten operas currently offered by Opus Arte. Well I was bowled over by it. Its simply not to be missed. John Graham Hall's portrayal and singing is magnificent, rivalled only by Susan Gritton's Ellen which was movingly beautiful and fabulously sung. Robin Ticciati is always worth seeking out and his interview in the "Extras" is so helpful and interesting. I cannot fault this DVD in ANY way - the sound quality and camera work is top rate. Certainly for me one of the "great recordings of the century" in the making!
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Format: Blu-ray
The main strength of Britten's Peter Grimes, and one of its main themes of course, is its essentially English character. That is challenged in two ways in this 2012 production of the opera. One is that it is performed at La Scala in Milan and not at Aldeburgh or somewhere more appropriate with a feeling for the vitally English smalltown seaside location of the work. The second challenge to the integrity of the work is that the period of the setting is somewhat inevitably updated to the near-present by director Richard Jones. In the event not only do neither of these choices prove detrimental to the piece, but they actually manage to bring something new and fresh out of the work. With an opera like Peter Grimes and the sensitive subjects and themes it touches on, that's exactly the kind of challenge and contemporary relevance you want to remind you of the importance of this work in the composer's centenary year.

You might expect that an English orchestra might be more attuned to the specific rhythms of the score and the swells of its tides, but the orchestra of La Scala conducted by the young English music director Robin Ticciati give a remarkable account of the work. There is always the danger of over-emphasis or heavy-handedness within Peter Grimes but Ticciati directs with quiet reserve, allowing the rhythms to assert their authority, building towards the tragedy in a manner and with a drive that seems as unstoppable as the outcome is inevitable. In a predominately English/British cast John Graham-Hall sings Peter Grimes with the right tone of edgy fragility and steely determined defiance, never seeking to endear him to the audience, but rather plunging right into the dangerous nature of this impassioned but deluded character.
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As a production this is awful. The essential elements of Grimes are the setting on the windswept coast of Suffolk and the dark nature of a small fishing community. This production is a failure as its atmosphere is totally at odds with the intentions of Britten. Watch the video conducted by the composer or see the live performance by opera north later this year to understand this greatest of British Operas. The composer did not accept misinterpretation of his work without protest and this effort will have him turning in his grave
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John Graham-Hall and Susan Gritton are simply wonderful in this recording. La Scala were very wise to publish this recording; do not miss it.
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