First to the Met itself on 2/28 and then to the movie theater next door in HD broadcast on 3/15. Let’s all put on some Britten and lean forward expectedly. New York Times shares some information about the upcoming (new) production of Peter Grimes at the Met:
The game is constantly afoot in Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.” Everyone, it seems, is hunting for something or someone in this opera, most spectacularly in the third and last act, when the entire little fishing community on the harsh North Sea coast of England transforms itself into a vicious mob on the track of Grimes himself, “the borough criminal” who must be caught and destroyed. One of the most terrifying scenes in opera, it is likely to chill audiences once more when the Metropolitan Opera unveils its new staging on Thursday evening. This is the company’s third production since it introduced this compelling work in 1948, just three years after the world premiere at the Sadler’s Wells Opera in London. Read the rest.
Alex Ross pitches in with his always enlightening remarks as well:
Aldeburgh is a windswept fishing town on the east coast of the British Isles. “A bleak little place; not beautiful,” the novelist E. M. Forster called it. He went on: “It huddles around a flint-towered church and sprawls down to the North Sea — and what a wallop the sea makes as it pounds the shingle! Near by is a quay, at the side of an estuary, and here the scenery becomes melancholy and flat; expanses of mud, saltish commons, the marsh-birds crying.”
Some decades later, the great German writer W. G. Sebald fell even more deeply in love with the oblique charms of Aldeburgh and neighboring villages, and devoted his book The Rings of Saturn to the geography and history of the region. “I had not a single thought in my head,” Sebald wrote, describing one of his walks across the flats. “With each step that I took, the emptiness within and the emptiness without grew ever greater and the silence more profound…. I imagined myself amidst the remains of our own civilization after its extinction in some future catastrophe.” Read the rest.
Met’s blog comments on the choral preparations:
Peter Grimes played a key role in Donald Palumbo’s life. Early in his career, the Met’s chorus master was hired by the Dallas Opera to work on Britten’s score. “They needed someone to do it because their chorus master was an Italian who spoke ten words of English,” Palumbo recalls, coming from a Grimes rehearsal in List Hall, just across the hallway from his Met office. “But he turned out to be one of the greatest chorus masters of the 20th century, Roberto Benaglio. At the time, he had retired from La Scala and was doing the Dallas job because he was friends with the music director. So I came into contact with this man, and that basically changed my life.” Read the rest.
…and counts down the days until the premiere on Thursday:
“Our goal was to create a psychological space that has a reference to a fishing village.” In between rehearsals, Scott Pask talks about his set design for Peter Grimes. Just like director John Doyle and costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, Pask is making his Met debut with this production. And just as for the director, Pask’s initial inspiration came from the fishing village of Hastings on the English coast where Doyle lives. Read the rest.