Anthony Dean Griffey (Peter Grimes), Vivian Tierney (Ellen Orford), Steven Page (Captain Balstrode), Susan Gorton (Auntie), Camilla Tilling (First Niece), Linda Tuvas (Second Niece), John Graham-Hall (Bob Boles), Stafford Dean (Swallow), Jard van Nes (Mrs Sedley), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (The Rev Horace Adams), Christopher Maltman (Ned Keene), Michael Druiett (Hobson) & Michael Haughey (Dr Crabbe)
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Glyndebourne’s association with the music of Benjamin Britten extends back to the early 1940s. Benjamin Britten and Glyndebourne’s then Chairman John Christie were not obvious colleagues. They had very little in common. Both were from very different backgrounds, John Christie being a recipient of the Military Cross while Britten spent World War World II years in the US as a conscientious objector. Glyndebourne staged the premiere of The Rape of Lucretia in 1946 and in the following year, the premiere of Albert Herring. After this premiere, Britten commented of Christie as “a mischievous, mad old man”. Britten wasn’t invited back, and 34 years of the Glyndebourne Festival elapsed until another of his operas Midsummer Night’s Dream was staged in 1981. Glyndebourne has gone onto acclaimed productions of The Turn of the Screw, Billy Budd, Owen Wingrave, Death in Venice, Albert Herring and this acclaimed Trevor Nunn production of Peter Grimes from 2000.
Peter Grimes premiered in London in 1945 and was the first of Britten’s operas to be a critical and popular success. This 2000 Glyndebourne production is no exception. The role of Peter Grimes is amongst the toughest company on disc, with a heritage laid down by Peter Pears and Jon Vickers. In this recording Anthony Dean Griffey has the lyricism of Peter Pears and the weight and size of voice of Jon Vickers and above all is totally convincing in entering the mental state of Grimes. Vivian Tierney is an authoritative Ellen Orford, compassionate yet lonely and vulnerable, and likewise utterly convincing.
‘… perhaps the finest interpretation of this role [Griffey/Grimes] to date… Vivian Tierney … the embodiment of ineffectual bourgeois liberalism … Steven Page’s Balstrode …forcefully hectoring.’ The Guardian 26 June 2000
‘The performance is memorable for the superlative playing of the London Philharmonic under Mark Wigglesworth …’ Sunday Telegraph 2 July 2000
‘The LPO under Mark Wigglesworth were on top form, superbly delivering the nuances of Britten’s famous instrumental virtuosity in the interludes …’ Opera Magazine September 2000
23rd September 2010
“Mark Wigglesworth's conducting, wonderfully detailed and perfectly paced, is certainly worth hearing”
19th September 2010
“Glyndebourne’s 2000 Peter Grimes has much to commend it, not least Mark Wigglesworth’s vividly theatrical conducting, Vivian Tierney’s sympathetic Ellen and a strong sense of ensemble. But Anthony Dean Griffey’s clean cut Grimes doesn’t quite shake the rafters.”
“Griffey has the perfect vocal weight and technique for the part; he can sing with Pears's wistfulness and (almost) with Vickers's power. He may just be the vocally perfect Grimes on disc and his voice is in pristine condition...The Borough's inhabitants are vivid...The penultimate scene of the opera is as frightening as it should be”
“This is the greatest conducting and playing - LPO on top form - of Britten's first masterpiece that I've ever heard...Griffey, though he occasionally has the visionary beauty of the late, great Anthony Rolfe Johnson, is very much his own man as Grimes...Tierney matches pristine truth with heroic-soprano firmness...this is an ideal presentation of a masterpiece at its unrelenting best.”
“[Wigglesworth's] volatile conducting is always to the fore...[Griffey] is an impressive performer who steers a convincing middle course, playing Grimes as a poetic dreamer like Pears but lit with flashes of Vickers's violence and Langridge's mental instability...as a Peter Grimes hot from the stage this Glyndebourne set makes a vivid souvenir.”
“Wigglesworth draws some viscerally dramatic playing from the LPO. Anthony Dean Griffey makes a sound more powerful than luscious as Grimes (fortunately it's the kind of role which can take many kinds of approach) and he brings a fascinating touch of hysteria to the part...a performance that builds up a terrific dramatic momentum.”
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