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Britten: Peter Grimes / Alan Oke, Giselle Allen, Steuart Bedford, Robert Murray, Alexandra Hutton [2013 Aldeburgh Festival]

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

A landmark recording in Britten's Centenary Year. Following the recording sessions for this disc - made in Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, UK - the company performed the work live 'on the beach' as part of the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival.

Sunday Times, 18th August 2013
A fine memento of a thrilling performance.

Evening Standard, 27th August 2013
There is something of Britten himself in Peter Grimes... premiered nearly 70 years ago - but Britten's finest works are more relevant than ever, and continue to prove the magic and power of opera.

The Telegraph, 29th August 2013
It mixes professional forces assembled by Opera North with a student chorus and orchestra, both of whom make youthfully fresh and committed contributions which the composer would doubtless have appreciated...a performance with more guts and energy than high polish.

The Observer, 18th August 2013
Alan Oke offers a poetic, masterful reading of the title role. Giselle Allen's anguished Ellen Orford and a characterful ensemble of Borough folk make the drama immediate and transparent. If this were my only Grimes recording, I would be happy.

The Arts Desk, 14th September 2013
All is taut, tense and claustrophobic, the rich Snape acoustic adding to the pleasure. The orchestra playing is incisive, occasionally brash but thrillingly alive, and the all-important chorus, drawn from Opera North and the Guildhall School, is among the greatest on disc.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2013
[Bedford] has the sea-swell of the work deep in his bones...[Oke's] is a strong, ballasted performance, less purely plangent than many, but deeply moving in its simple strength and keen imagination...There's much to relish throughout this hand-picked cast.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2013
This is an expertly paced performance, as one might expect with Steuart Bedford as conductor, building the tension incrementally...[Oke] is heard to best effect when Grimes is peering deep into his soul...Allen's urgent Ellen Orford is well in the picture, though she does not always sound ingratiating, and David Kempster is a stalwart Balstrode.

American Record Guide, January/February 2014
Britten's own recording with Peter Pears is considered definitive. For the 66th Aldeburgh Festival, June 2013, Grimes was produced for the first time in Aldeburgh, the setting for the opera. Alan Oke is a tenor of the Pears voice and interpretation. Oke is even more refined, with an ease of singing and interpretation, powerful as needed, deeply nuanced in emotion, a delicate soft quality for the poetry, and clear diction. Giselle Allen usually sings mezzo. She is a rich-toned Miss Jessel in the Glyndebourne video of Britten's Turn of the Screw. Here she brings that coloring to the higher tessitura of Ellen Orford. She is also emotional. Kempster's Balstrode is another rich portrayal. There is an entire parcel of excellent characterizations, with special kudos going to Wyn-Rogers's Mrs Sedley. Conductor Bedford worked with Britten, learning and preparing the works directly from the composer. Here he displays his knowledge, his authority, in a masterly performance.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Snape Maltings Concert Hall (06/07/2013/06/09/2013).


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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
  • Performers: Alan Oke (Baritone); Stephen Richardson; Henry Waddington (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Steuart Bedford
  • Ensemble: Opera North Chorus
  • Notes: Snape Maltings Concert Hall (06/07/2013/06/09/2013)
  • Running Time: 35 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1945