Peter Grimes returns to the Royal Theater with Deborah Warner

Peter Grimes

Between 19 April and 10 of May, Royal Theatre offer 9 functions from Peter Grimes, Benjamin Britten, new production The Royal Theatre in co-production with the Royal Opera House, London, the Opéra national de Paris and the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.

In this masterful opera, the inhabitants of a small coastal town, whose hard life passes under the relentless influence of the sea, they face, they sentence, They slander and humiliate a sullen and violent fisherman who clumsily yearns to integrate into that society that despises him. The question that beats throughout the entire drama - is Peter Grimes the murderer of a child??- triggers many other, of great depth, to which Britten does not answer, though his music always treats marginalized and lonely beings with poignant compassion.

When in 1941, during world war II, Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and his inseparable partner, the tenor Peter Pears, they were in california, discover the work of the English poet George Crabbe (1754-1832) what, as Britten, he was born in a town on the Suffolk coast, scene of all his stories. Such was Britten's identification and empathy with that world so close and longed for, who decides to return to England driven by a revealing feeling of belonging and roots that lead him to take up residence, forever, in those lands on the shores of the North Sea. The unfortunate Peter Grimes also lives there, poem character The Borough, the Crabbe, that Britten decides to transform into an opera, sketched, with the help of Pears, during the boat trip that the two made back to their homeland.

In England, where homosexuality was penalized, A difficult life awaited them in which they would have to hide their love from the well-thought-out society. This fact underlies the opera and almost all of Britten's operatic production., starring unfathomable beings, dark, generally opposed by innocent victims.

To show the drama of Peter Grimes in all its rawness, stigmatized in a society that creates its own monsters, Deborah Warner, with the complicity of the set designer Michael Levine, has set the drama in a very poor town on the Suffolk coast. There they remain the same line of the horizon, the fury of the sea and the pebble beach that inspired Crabbe's poetry and Britten's opera. But the misery and helplessness of its people today are fundamental in the staging, in which Warner's meticulous work stands out, that always explores the psychological depth of the characters.

For this, it has a cast in which the debut stands out, in their respective roles, tenor Allan Clayton (Peter Grimes) and the soprano Maria Bengtsson (Ellen Orford), and the return to the Royal Baritone Theater Christopher Purves (Captain Balstrode), star of the world premiere of The Perfect American, de Philip Glass, in 2013 and Written on Skin, George Benjamin, in 2016.

Two interpreters who performed in Billy Budd in 2017: Jacques Imbrailo, opera protagonist in 2017 and now playing the role of Ned Keene, Y Clive Bayley como Swallow. Accompany them Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Auntie), John Graham Hall (Bob Boles), Rosie Aldridge (Mrs. Sedley), James Gilchrist (Rev. Horace Adams), Barnaby Rea (Hobson), Rocío Pérez (first niece) Y Natalia Labourdette (second niece).

He Titular Choir of the Teatro Real, prepared, as usual, by director Andrés Máspero, has in this opera an important role both musical and dramaturgical. He will perform alongside the Head of the Royal Theatre Orchestra, under the direction of its musical director Ivor Bolton.

Benjamin Britten has occupied a privileged place in the Royal Theater's programming since its reopening. In 1997, two months after reopening, Peter Grimes got a great success, in a production with stage direction by Willy Decker from the La Monnaie Theater in Brussels, with its titular choir and orchestra conducted by Antonio Pappano. They have followed him Summer night Dream (2005/2006), The rape of Lucretia (2007/2008), Another twist (2010/2011), Death in Venice (2014/2015), Billy Budd (2016/2017), Gloriana (2017/2018) and children's works The Little Sweep (2004/2005, 2005/2006 Y 2007/2008) Y Noah's flood (2007/2008).

All these works attest to the immense musical and dramaturgical talent of Benjamin Britten as an operatic composer., who has expressed through his characters the dramas, dreams, traumas, deepest and most unspeakable passions and concerns of the individual, with deep compassion for the miseries of the human condition.

Photograph © Javier del Real | Teatro Real