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Peter Grimes - Pal [DVD] [2003]

Philip Langridge , Janice Cairns    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Peter Grimes - Pal [DVD] [2003] + Britten: Billy Budd [DVD] [2011] [2010]
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Product details

  • Actors: Philip Langridge, Janice Cairns, Alan Opie, English Nat'l Opera Orch And Chorus
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Castilian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ARTHAUS
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Mar 2003
  • Run Time: 144 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000092WBR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,152 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Benjamin Britten's dour masterpiece Peter Grimes has been well-served in video recordings, yet this stark, intense production may become the top choice for most viewers. One of its major attractions is outstanding camerawork, under the direction of Barrie Gavin, powerfully reinforcing the shifting moods created by the music. The photography is notable in frequent close-ups, particularly those that focus on the ravaged, vulnerable and intensely expressive face of Philip Langridge in the title role. His interpretation is strikingly different from that of his chief video rival, Jon Vickers, who presents a more burly characterisation.

The ambiguities in the role of Grimes make it possible to emphasise either strength or vulnerability in this story of an alienated fisherman, who stands virtually alone against a small (and small-minded society), vast forces of nature and a run of bad luck. His young apprentice has died (possibly because of his neglect or brutality); he is legally acquitted but found guilty by his neighbours and forbidden to take another boy as apprentice. He ignores that warning, the second boy dies accidentally, and he commits suicide under intense public pressure.

Langridge gives a striking account of the role's psychological depth and complexity, aided by a well-chosen and directed cast. James Atherton conducts expertly. The chorus and orchestra are first-class, and the famous sea interludes, which have found a secure place in the concert repertoire, are visually enhanced by views of the ocean and shoreline. --Joe McLellan

Product Description

Peter Grimes

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, indeed 1 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Grimes is Britten's masterpiece. Despite every excellent aspect of the later operas (and they are all wonderful) Britten never surpassed the naturalness, directness, and sheer beauty of Grimes. This production is, as the other reviewer says, superb. Whatever Alan Blyth says in Gramophone (and I bow to his wisdom on all matters) the staging by the ENO, and the set designs by Bechtler, allow the violence, terror, and tenderness of Grimes to emerge both through him and around him. Blyth rejects what he calls Brechtian style minimalism. But the simplicity of the sets promote the complexity of the relationships between the villagers, Grime, Balstrode and Orford. Performing those parts, Langridge, Cairns and Opie are faultless. Cairns herself wins out with the most heartfelt Orford and Grimes' rejection of her is gripping and painful. Pain is, of course, at the core of this opera - the pain caused by the 'gossips', the pain inflicted by Grimes, the pain of love. But there is also black humour - surely there is nothing more amusing than Mrs. Sedley stalking the night in search of drugs.
For me, no recording will ever surpass the Britten/Pears Decca set - this is, whatever one thinks of Pears, the benchmark recording. But interpretation is the lifeblood of this music and keeping the spirit of Britten and Grimes alive is so essential. Only a few decades after his death Britten's music still hasn't reached the kind of audience that one would hope for it. It should because it has so much to tell us about contemporary society. An opera which raises key questions about the right to a just and fair hearing before the law, the rights of children, and the responsibilities of citizens seems to me as pertinent as music gets.
Replace your VHS if you have one - the DVD wins out. If you never had it, get hold of a copy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving 8 Dec 2008
I saw this production in the early 1990ies at the Munich "Staatsoper" and was very impressed by the whole work - one of the real "classics" of 20th century musical drama.
This film of the original ENO version wonderfully preserves these feelings of a great human tragedy set into music by Britains - in my opinion - greatest composer of the passed century.
All the singers are near to perfection in both singing and acting. The orchestra plays with fire and extreme power but has also the colours of lyricism. And the little but very important part of the apprentice-boy is a unforgetting portrayal in this production.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Aquinas
This is one of the great 20th century operas; Britten's music is dramatic, lyrical and atmospheric. The ENO production is top notch. Inevitably, the tale itself leaves a sour taste in one's mouth given that it is unrelentingly bleak. It depicts humanity at its most unforgiving, humanity as brutish and ugly. And yet, there are beautiful moments, for example, the solo scene for Ellen Orford with the Church choir in the background; the female quartet: "do we cry or do we weep" at the end of ACT II is achingly beautiful and the orchestration is ethereal. But, there is no redemption in this piece, the choruses are packed with narrow ugliness and anger. This is ultimately music without hope, the orchestral beauties in the score have nothing to hang unto but a kind of grim despair. A dose of Cosi Fan Tutti by Mozart is needed after this!
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7 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars peter grimes 27 Sep 2003
One word will suffice....SUPERB!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary! 7 July 2003
By MDFinMIA - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Having seen a 1996 revival of this production at the ENO (my first encounter with Grimes), I was anxiously awaiting this release on DVD. Am pleased to report it is as gripping and shattering an experience. Cast all around is up to the task, and orchestra superbly captures the rhythms of Britten's driving score. Sound and video are fine. Would have appreciated optional surtitles to help grasp all the words, but we're left at the mercy of singers' diction. All in all, an extraordinary evening in the theatre.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Philip Langridge 1 Feb 2006
By Marc Musnick - Published on
Langridge is the only tenor I've heard in the title role that equals the unforgettable performance of Jon Vickers. But the overall effect of this ENO performance is rather weak. The orchestra playing is tepid and I found the choral work on the ragged side. At the conclusion of the first act when the chorus questions, "Home. You call that home!", the crisp and stunning attack that can be heard in the Covent Garden DVD is lost but then again the ENO production doesn't have Colin Davis leading. The production is stylized and abstract, appearing to be from Peter's insane standpoint. which is a very compelling and valid concept.

I greatly admire Landridge's performance and singing here even if he's terribly flat for the beginning of the critical Great Bear and Pleiades aria, it is a compelling performance. I only wish the rest of the performance measured up to Landridge's effort.

I would stick with the Covent Garden DVD. Jon Vickers's Grimes was one of the great operatic characterizations of the 20th Century.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very poor DVD production from Kultur! 18 Oct 2009
By M. Stanzani - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
no subtitles, audio is just 2ch Dloby Digital. Kultur should have been done much better!
no complain about stage and musical
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