Britten: Peter Grimes

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Britten: Peter Grimes


BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - November 2013



Catalogue No:




Release date:

29th July 2013




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Britten: Peter Grimes

[Grimes on the Beach]

Alan Oke (Peter Grimes), Giselle Allen (Ellen Orford), David Kempster (Captain Balstrode), Gaynor Keeble (Auntie), Alexandra Hutton (First Niece), Charmian Bedford (Second Niece), Robert Murray (Bob Boles), Henry Waddington (Swallow), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs Sedley), Christopher Gillett (Rev. Horace Adams), Charles Rice (Ned Keene), Stephen Richardson (Hobson)

Chorus of Opera North, Chorus of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama & Britten–Pears Orchestra, Steuart Bedford

CD - 2 discs


Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.

Britten’s powerful and masterful evocation of the North Sea in all its moods has become inextricably linked, to audiences all over the world, with the Aldeburgh that was home to Crabbe in the 18th century and Britten in the 20th. Steuart Bedford leads a vast and accomplished group of performers on this new recording, created shortly before the company performed the work on the beach at Aldeburgh as part of the festival, further celebrating Britten's centenary year, 2013.

Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes, Op. 13

Prologue: Peter Grimes (Hobson, Swallow, Peter)

Prologue: You sailed your boat round the coast (Swallow, Peter, Mrs. Sedley, Hobson, Ellen, Chorus)

Prologue: Peter Grimes, I here advise you (Swallow, Hobson, Peter, Chorus)

Prologue: The truth - the pity - and the truth (Peter, Ellen)

Prologue: Interlude I 'Dawn'

Act I Scene I: Oh, hang at open doors (Auntie, Boles, Balstrode, Chorus)

Act I Scene I: Good morning, good morning! (Rector, Nieces, Mrs. Sedley, Ned, Swallow, Auntie, Boles, Balstrode, Chorus)

Act I Scene I: Hi! Give us a hand (Peter, Boles, Balstrode, Ned, Auntie, Hobson)

Act I Scene I: I'll have to go from pub to pub (Hobson, Ellen, Ned, Chorus)

Act I Scene I: Let her among you without fault (Ellen, Hobson, Mrs. Sedley, Ned)

Act I Scene I: Look! The storm cone! (Balstrode, Ned, Boles, Chorus)

Act I Scene I: And do you prefer the storm (Balstrode, Peter)

Act I Scene I: They listen to money (Peter, Balstrode)

Act I Scene I: What harbour shelters peace (Peter)

Act I: Interlude II 'Storm'

Act I Scene II: Past time to close (Auntie, Mrs. Sedley, Balstrode, Boles, Nieces)

Act I Scene II: Loud man (Auntie, Nieces, Mrs. Sedley)

Act I Scene II: There's been a landslide up the coast (Fisherman, Boles, Balstrode, Auntie)

Act I Scene II: No, I mean love (Boles, Balstrode, Chorus)

Act I Scene II: Pub conversation should depend (Balstrode, Chorus)

Act I Scene II: Have you heard the cliff is down (Ned, Auntie, Mrs. Sedley, Chorus)

Act I Scene II: Now the Great Bear and Pleiades (Peter, Nieces, Boles, Balstrode, Auntie, Chorus)

Act I Scene II: For peace sake (Balstrode, Peter)

Act I Scene II: The bridge is down (Hobson, Ned, Ellen, Boles, Auntie, Nieces, Peter)

Act II: Interlude III 'Sunday Morning'

Act II Scene I: Glitter of waves (Ellen)

Act II Scene I: Now that the daylight fills the sky (Ellen, Rector, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: Child you're not too young (Ellen, Rector, Peter, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: This unrelenting work (Ellen, Peter, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: Fool to let it come to this (Auntie, Ned, Boles, Mrs. Sedley, Balstrode, Swallow, Nieces, Rector, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: People ... no! I will speak! (Boles, Balstrode, Rector, Auntie, Ellen, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: We planned that their lives (Ellen, Rector, Mrs. Sedley, Boles, Ned, Nieces, Auntie, Balstrode, Hobson, Swallow, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: Shall we go and see Grimes in his hut? (Rector, Swallow, Balstrode, Mrs. Sedley, Boles, Chorus)

Act II Scene I: Now gossip is put on trial (Chorus)

Act II Scene I: From the gutter (Nieces, Auntie, Ellen)

Act II: Interlude IV 'Passacaglia'

Act II Scene II: Go there (Peter)

Act II Scene II: They listen to money (Peter)

Act II Scene II: Now! Now! (Peter, Chorus)

Act II Scene II: Peter Grimes (Rector, Swallow, Ned)

Act III: Interlude V 'Moonlight'

Act III Scene I: Assign your prettiness to me (Swallow, Nieces, Ned)

Act III Scene I: Mr. Keene (Mrs. Sedley, Ned)

Act III Scene I: Murder most foul it is (Mrs. Sedley, Ned)

Act III Scene I: Come along, Doctor (Burgess, Burgesses, Rector, Mrs. Sedley, Ellen, Balstrode)

Act III Scene I: Embroidery in childhood was (Ellen, Balstrode)

Act III Scene I: Mr. Swallow (Mrs. Sedley, Auntie, Swallow, Hobson)

Act III Scene I: Who holds himself apart (Chorus)

Act III: Interlude VI

Act III Scene II: Grimes! (Voices, Peter)

Act III Scene II: Peter, we've come to take you home (Ellen, Peter, Balstrode)

Act III Scene II: To those who pass the Borough (Swallow, Fisherman, Auntie, Boles, Chorus)

Alan Oke on playing Peter Grimes

Giselle Allen on playing Ellen Orford

Steuart Bedford on conducting Peter Grimes

Sunday Times

18th August 2013

“A fine memento of a thrilling performance”

Evening Standard

27th August 2013

“There is something of Britten himself in Peter Grimes… premiered nearly 70 years ago – but Britten’s finest works are more relevant than ever, and continue to prove the magic and power of opera”

The Telegraph

29th August 2013


“It mixes professional forces assembled by Opera North with a student chorus and orchestra, both of whom make youthfully fresh and committed contributions which the composer would doubtless have appreciated...a performance with more guts and energy than high polish.”

The Observer

18th August 2013

“Alan Oke offers a poetic, masterful reading of the title role. Giselle Allen's anguished Ellen Orford and a characterful ensemble of Borough folk make the drama immediate and transparent. If this were my only Grimes recording, I would be happy.”

The Arts Desk

14th September 2013

“All is taut, tense and claustrophobic, the rich Snape acoustic adding to the pleasure. The orchestra playing is incisive, occasionally brash but thrillingly alive, and the all-important chorus, drawn from Opera North and the Guildhall School, is among the greatest on disc.”

BBC Music Magazine

November 2013


“[Bedford] has the sea-swell of the work deep in his bones...[Oke's] is a strong, ballasted performance, less purely plangent than many, but deeply moving in its simple strength and keen imagination...There's much to relish throughout this hand-picked cast.”

Gramophone Magazine

November 2013

“This is an expertly paced performance, as one might expect with Steuart Bedford as conductor, building the tension incrementally...[Oke] is heard to best effect when Grimes is peering deep into his soul...Allen's urgent Ellen Orford is well in the picture, though she does not always sound ingratiating, and David Kempster is a stalwart Balstrode.”

Opera Now


“this release has strong presence. Steuart Bedford’s conducting is pacey and brings out the violence of the piece, and the Britten-Pears Orchestra rips into the score...Oke’s Grimes is a damaged soul from the start...Allen sounds a mature but intense Ellen, David Kempster a humane Balstrode.”

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