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Richard Fairman
Gramophone, December 2014

BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (NTSC) 102179
BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) 108101

This souvenir from Britten’s centenary deserves a lasting place in the catalogue. …a windswept, emotionally engulfing performance, in which the human story is palpably at the mercy of forces beyond its control. © 2014 Gramophone



Richard S. Ginell
Classical Voice North America, July 2014

Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach…was staged literally on the beach of this small town on the Suffolk coastline…in an attempt to capture the authentic atmosphere of Britten’s East Anglian roots. Indeed, this film does just that, not only in the performance—a very good one…—but also in the camerawork…

For its unique atmosphere alone, this film of Peter Grimes is a must-see. © 2014 Classical Voice North America Read complete review




Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, June 2014

This whole undertaking has the aura of a special event, and indeed it is sui generis. You cannot but get taken up in the drama and atmosphere and there’s not a bad performance to be seen or heard. © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Henson Keys
Parterre Box, April 2014

The sea, the sky, the wind, the storms that are so frequently depicted in the music of Benjamin Britten are brilliantly illuminated in the new DVD of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach, a collaboration between Aldeburgh Music, film director Margaret Williams, and stage director Tim Albery.

The sea and sky are the backdrops, and this performance finds the heart and guts of Britten’s work with excellent staging and performances that get deeply into the minds and souls of Britten’s troubled Borough.

Tenor Alan Oke…gives a performance that is simply definitive…his duets with the sensitive Ellen Orford of Giselle Allen are…poignant. In Oke’s performance, there is not a single misstep or false moment. I will return to this DVD again and again.

Stage director Albery has assembled a first rate ensemble to support Oke. David Kempster is a solid, calming presence as Balstrode. Gaynor Keeble is appropriately sassy as Auntie…and Catherine Wyn-Rogers is a delightfully nosy Mrs Sedley.

The entire cast works together seamlessly…

This film is a major achievement in the filming of opera. This reviewer felt immersed in the world of Britten’s music; I expect the audience felt like extra citizens of the Borough. And, if one can have a star-making performance at age 59, Alan Oke is having it. I want to hear much more from this riveting singing actor. © 2014 Parterre Box Read complete review



Richard Fairman
Gramophone, April 2014

BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (NTSC) 102179
BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) 108101

In almost all respects the technical side of the operation is a near triumph. Having the singers perform live…to the accompaniment of a prerecorded orchestra was a gamble but it has paid off with very decent sound, the voices forward enough to make sure that every word can be heard. Picture quality is remarkably good…

…this DVD makes a unique and satisfying experience. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Jason Victor Serinus
San Francisco Classical Voice, March 2014

BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (NTSC) 102179
BRITTEN, B.: Peter Grimes (Aldeburgh Festival, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) 108101

Of all the productions of Britten operas staged for the centennial celebration of his birth, in 2013, nothing can possibly top this open-air staging of Peter Grimes on Aldeburgh Beach.

Tenor Alan Opie…gives a strong performance, squeezing out high notes beyond expectation. Giselle Allen (Ellen Orford)…sings beautifully. Gaynor Keeble is as convincing of Auntie’s madame-hood as is veteran artist Catherine Wyn-Rogers of Mrs. Sedley’s stiffnecked morality. Christopher Gillet as the hypocritical Rev. Horace Adams, and Charles Rice as free spirit Ned Keene are also excellent. © 2014 San Francisco Classical Voice Read complete review



Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, February 2014

The three evening performances of June 2013 have been expertly assembled by Margaret Williams into a cinemascope format film which amplifies the concert experience with close-ups, cutaways and specially commissioned atmospheric videos accompanying the four orchestral interludes. The title role is sung by the redoubtable Alan Oke in his first appearance in this role, ably abetted by Giselle Allen as the ever-sympathetic Ellen Orford. The cast also includes David Kempster as Balstrode, Robert Murray as Bob Boles and Catherine Wyn-Rogers as Mrs. Sedley.

Britten stalwart Steuart Bedford pre-recorded the students of the Britten-Pears Orchestra in a raw yet energetic studio session. The excellent chorus is drawn from members of Opera North and the Guildhall. The overall solidity of the vocal ensemble and the exceptionally clear diction make for a most engaging evening best enjoyed indoors, comfortably far from the crashing waves and pesky seagulls of the rugged North Sea. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review




Guy Wagner
Pizzicato, February 2014

Peter Grimes staged on Aldeburgh beach for the composer’s 100th birthday was a particularly rewarding experience for the excellent team, singers musicians, producers, as well as for the spectators. Perfectly filmed and with good sound, the event is now available to the music lovers around the world. © 2014 Pizzicato




Mark Valencia
Sinfini Music, February 2014

The Aldeburgh Festival organisers found themselves fielding a triumph; and now, in Margaret Williams’s widescreen film, their audacious experiment will survive indefinitely. Williams has crafted a stylish, exquisitely photographed document…

Director Tim Albery chose to set Peter Grimes at the time of its writing, so everyone is dressed in dowdy post-war clothes that also serve, one imagines, to conceal layers of thermal underlay. Leslie Travers’s bold, wide set, all planks, skiffs and rusting railings, provides a vividly expressionistic extension of Grimes’s troubled seafaring mind.

…Alan Oke convinces utterly as a wiry, bitter Grimes. He uses the reediness of his voice to convey pent-up fury and bafflement, and is superbly matched by Giselle Allen as Ellen Orford and by a uniformly splendid supporting cast. Although the backing track was set down in advance by conductor Steuart Bedford and his forces, all the solo singers performed live. The result is seamless. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review





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