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Richard Fairman
Gramophone, February 2013

DVD Choice

The best modern DVD, despite looking dated. The Borough community is observed in compelling detail and Langridge penetrates more deeply into Grimes’s troubled psyche than any other tenor. © 2013 Gramophone

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Tim Albery’s darkly intense production of Peter Grimes for ENO, updated to the interwar period, makes a powerful impression on DVD, thanks not just to the outstanding performance and production but also to Barrie Gavin’s television presentation. Instead of filming a live performance, it uses the dark, stylized designs of Hildegard Bechtler as the background for a studio performance on the wide Coliseum stage, with close-up shots restoring the claustrophobic atmosphere that such a large venue tends to undermine. One does not see David Atherton and the orchestra; instead, seascapes are shown during the important orchestral interludes. This is a production in which the chorus is a protagonist, and that, too, is vividly brought home in Gavin’s presentation. As for the principals, their singing, vivid and characterful from the first to last, can hardly be faulted, with Philip Langridge even more moving as Grimes than on CD, thanks to his deeply involved acting, with his big solos, notably the one in his hut in Act II and the final mad monologue, bringing the most powerful climaxes. Janice Cairns makes a touching Ellen, clear and firm throughout, with just a touch of the stiffness of a school-mistress adding to the effectiveness of her acting. Alan Opie is an ideal Balstrode, even more than usual emerging as a central figure in the action, and the individual characters from the Borough are all vividly drawn, notably the Mrs Sedley of Susan Orton and the Auntie of Ann Howard. The women’s quartet in Act II is radiantly sung, and the option on DVD of having English subtitles even with an opera in English adds powerfully to the impact of the piece.


"Imagen, orquesta, coro y solistas: todo se une en este disco feliz para hacer justicia a uno de los titulos operisticos mas bellos del siglo que se fue."

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