2017-05-13 Peter Grimes (Britten), Oper Bonn

Peter Grimes = José Cura
Ellen Orford - Johanni van Oostrum
Balstrode - Mark Morouse
Auntie - Ceri Williams
1. Nichte - Marie Heeschen
2. Nichte - Rosemarie Weissgerber
Bob Boles - Christian Georg
Swallow - Leonard Bernad
Mrs. Sedley - Anjara I. Bartz
Pastor Adams - David Fischer
Ned Keene - Fabio Lesuisse
Hobson - Daniel Pannermayr
Fischersfrau - Asta Zubaite
Ein Anwalt - Georg Zingerle

Jacques Lacombe, conductor
Chor / Extrachor des Theater Bonn
Beethoven Orchester Bonn

Inszenierung und Ausstattung: José Cura
Licht: Thomas Roscher
Choreinstudierung: Marco Medved
Regieassistenz und Co-Ausstattung: Silvia Collazuol
Regieassistenz und Abendspielleitung: Christian Raschke
Bühnenbildsassistenz: Ansgar Baradoy
Musikalische Assistenz: Stephan Zilias
Inspizienz: Karsten Sandleben
It is a dark tale of persecution of the people who are different and therefore may easily be believed to be guilty. A fishing village with a fisherman who is not like the other people there, Peter Grimes. This man is loved by Ellen Orford and he loves her back. He needs another boy from the poorhouse to work with him. He has a problem, the village people believe he drowned his last boy.


"An English fishing village. During a coroner’s inquest at the town hall, the lawyer Swallow questions the fisherman Peter Grimes about the death of his apprentice during a storm at sea. Though the room is crowded with villagers hostile to Grimes, Swallow accepts the man’s explanation of the event and rules that the boy died accidentally. He warns Grimes not to take on another apprentice unless he lives with a woman who can care for the boy. When the hall empties, Ellen Orford, the schoolmistress, asks Grimes to have courage and promises to help him find a better life."

I loved Jose Cura's Regie and acting in Peter Grimes. Peter Grimes is separated by the other people at the Coroner's Inquest by a curtain that makes the other people as shadows while Peter Grimes with his shaggy hair and beard stands right before us. Brilliant use and it is also used later in the opera. Peter Grimes is haunted by the death of this boy and of the other boy that also died. We see this physically played out. The new dead one is then greated by other dead boys dressed in white. The boys are angels now. Ellen Orford (Johanni van Oostrum) comes out and takes him away from his now staring of the imagination of the dead boy.


"On a street by the sea, the women repair nets as a group of fishermen head for the Boar, a tavern kept by Auntie. Other villagers arrive: the Methodist fisherman Bob Boles, the widow Mrs. Sedley, and Balstrode, a retired sea-captain who warns that a storm is approaching. Grimes calls for help from the harbor to land his boat, but only Balstrode and the apothecary Ned Keene lend him a hand. Keene tells Grimes that he has found him a new apprentice at a workhouse. When the carrier Hobson refuses to fetch the boy, Ellen offers to go with him. The villagers make hostile comments, and she accuses them of hypocrisy (“Let her among you without fault cast the first stone”). As the storm rises and the crowd disperses, Grimes is left alone with Balstrode, who tries to convince him to leave the village. The fisherman explains that first he has to make enough money to open a store and marry Ellen.

That night, as the storm rages, the villagers gather at Auntie’s tavern. Auntie’s “nieces” are frightened by the wind and Bob Boles gets into a fight with Balstrode over one of them. When Grimes enters, there is a sudden silence, and he begins talking to himself, mystifying everyone (“Now the Great Bear and Pleiades”). The drunken Boles tries to attack Grimes. In an attempt to restore quiet, Ned Keene starts singing a sea shanty (“Old Joe has gone fishing”). When Hobson and Ellen arrive with the new apprentice, John, Grimes immediately takes the boy back into the storm and to his hut."
- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

The synopsis above refers to the Metropolitan Opera production and not to Jose Cura production in Bonn. So many little things are different here and I wish I could remember it all clearly enough to to mention them all. Peter Grimes doesn't himself any favors by being so different from all the others but he just can't help being the odd one. He is kind but he has a suddenness and semi-violent strike. Ellen Orford, the school-mistress, and Peter Grimes, the fisherman, makes up an odd couple. But she is also an outsider. Ellen is kind to everyone and so she sees in Peter a person worthy of love and affection.


On Sunday morning, as Ellen and John are watching the villagers go to church (“Glitter of waves”) she discovers a bruise on the young boy’s neck. Grimes comes to take John fishing. Ignoring Ellen’s concerns, he hits her and drags the child off. Auntie, Ned Keene, and Bob Boles have observed the incident and tell the congregation about it as they come out of church. The men decide to confront the fisherman, and despite Ellen’s protests, Boles leads the angry mob off to Grimes’s hut. Ellen, Auntie, and the nieces remain behind, reflecting on the childishness of men.

At his hut, Grimes orders John to dress for work. He dreams of the life he had planned with Ellen, but his thoughts return to his dead apprentice. As he hears the mob approaching, he rushes John out the back door. The boy slips and falls down the cliff; Grimes escapes. Bob Boles and the Rector find the hut empty and orderly and decide that they have misjudged Grimes. The villagers disperse, except for Balstrode, who looks over the cliff and knows better.
- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

Grimes has a problem with affection or maybe it is just having other people's hands close near or on him that freaks him out. He do not understand how to be affectionate even though he loves Ellen and does care for every new apprentice he takes. But he is always too sudden and almost violent even in his most affectionate state.


A dance is under way in the town hall. Outside, Mrs. Sedley tries to convince Ned Keene that Grimes has murdered his apprentice. Balstrode enters with Ellen and tells her that Grimes’s boat has returned but that there is no sign of him or the boy. He has also found John’s wet jersey, and Ellen remembers embroidering the anchor on it (“Embroidery in childhood was a luxury”). Mrs. Sedley has overheard the conversation and informs Swallow that Grimes’s boat is back. Once again, the crowd sets off on a manhunt.

Grimes, deranged and raving, listens to the villagers shouting his name in the distance. He hardly notices Ellen and Balstrode, who try to comfort him. Ellen asks Grimes to come home, but Balstrode tells him to sail out and take his own life. He helps Grimes launch the boat, and then leads Ellen away. As dawn breaks, the villagers return to their daily chores. Swallow tells them that the coast guard has reported a sinking boat, but no one listens to him.
- See more at: http://www.metopera.org/Discover/Synposes-Archive/Peter-Grimes/#sthash.qJ5HeE5C.dpuf

Mrs Sedley is always causing trouble about Grimes. She has a sneaky way but pretend to be a very godly women. Of course godly women can be smoking pipe and have a drug habit. Mrs Sedley loves gossip. Ned Keene who provide Mrs Sedley with her drug and provide boys from the poorhouse as apprentices and so on, should not be one of the men ganging up on Grimes. But hypocrisy is rampant. Poor Grimes is visited and haunted by the angels, 3 boys dressed in white. He is so alone, also in himself is he alone. Ellen Orford and Balstrode try to talk to him. Ellen still believes in a happy end for Peter, but Balstrode knows. He tell Peter Grimes to go out to sea and when he is furthest away and on deepest water to cut a hole in the boat. The desperately unhappy Peter Grimes does that. Ellen is shocked by Peter's decision and the Balstrode, the nearest of friend of Peter, could say that.

Peter dies and nobody else care in this village.

An amazing production. Britten' music is not for everyone and story is dark. This is right production and it can  thank Cura for all this.

This page was last updated: June 20, 2022