Opera in Cinema Presents The Teatro Alla Scala Production of Peter Grimes Live in HD, 5/24


Opera in Cinema/Emerging Pictures presents THE TEATRO ALLA SCALA PRODUCTION OF PETER GRIMES, LIVE in HD, starring John Graham-Hall, Susan Gritton, Christopher Purves, and Felicity Palmer, Thursday, May 24th, 2:00 p.m. at Big Cinemas Manhattan Theater, 239 East 59th Street.  Running time is 175 minutes.

With its Opera in Cinema and Ballet in Cinema programs, Emerging Pictures leads in providing comprehensive alternative arts programming to American audiences. Other live and encore captured live performances this season include operas by Puccini and Verdi performed at London’s Royal Opera House and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. There is also a full complement of LIVE HD simulcast ballet performances from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater and London’s Royal Ballet. All are on full-size movie screens.

British composer Benjamin Britten described his opera Peter Grimes as “…a subject very close to my heart, the struggle of the individual against the masses. The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual.” Set in a drab fishing village, Peter Grimes tells the story of a man accused by his neighbors of committing unspeakable crimes, and the question of whether those accusations and their consequences are just. Britten’s incredible score includes the Four Sea Interludes, instrumental music between scenes that perfectly expresses the mystery and pain at the heart of this opera. Starring John Graham-Hall, Susan Gritton, Christopher Purves and Felicity Palmer, with conductor Robin Ticciati in his debut at La Scala.

Composer: Benjamin Britten Libretto: Montagu Slater, from George Crabbe’s the poem “Peter Grimes” Conductor: Robin Ticciati Director: Richard Jones Sets and Costumes: Stewart Laing Lights: Mimi Jordan Sherin Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio Cast: Peter Grimes: John Graham-Hall Ellen Orford: Susan Gritton Captain Balstrode: Christopher Purves Auntie: Felicity Palmer First Niece: Malin Christensson Second Niece: Simona Mihai Bob Boles: Peter Hoare Swallow: Daniel Okulitch Mrs. Sedley: Catherine Wyn-Rogers Rev. Adams: Christopher Gillett Ned Keen: George Von Bergen Hobson: Stephen Richardson Synopsis:

British composer Benjamin Britten described his opera “Peter Grimes” as “…a subject very close to my heart --- the struggle of the individual against the masses. The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual.” Based on the poem of the same name by George Crabbe, the character Peter Grimes is portrayed in the opera as a victim of cruel fate and society; this, despite the dark aspects of his personality.

Set in a drab 1830’s English coastal village, fisherman Peter Grimes is questioned at an inquest about the death of his apprentice. Though the coroner certifies that the boy’s death was an accident, the townsfolk remain suspicious. Grimes is desperate to find a new apprentice to help him; a neighbor locates one, John, and he is fetched from the workhouse by Ellen, whom Grimes wishes to marry. Later, Ellen sees a bruise on John’s neck; when she confronts Grimes, he brusquely says it was an accident. He strikes Ellen and runs off with his apprentice. The villagers form a mob and head for Grimes’s hut. On hearing their approach, he and John get ready to head out to sea; Grimes warns the boy to be careful while getting into the boat, but John falls to his death. Grimes sails away. Upon his return, Grimes is once again pursued by the mob. Ellen and a friend, Captain Balstrode, find Grimes and encourage him to take his boat out to sea and sink it. Grimes leaves. The next day the village acts as if nothing untoward had happened. The coast guard reports a ship having sunk off the coast. This is dismissed by the villagers as just “one of these rumors.” It is left to the audience to decide the true character of Peter Grimes, ambiguous though it may be --- and whether or not he was treated justly by the villagers.