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Subject: Re: Peter Grimes
From: Peggy Houdek <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Peggy Houdek <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 2 Mar 2018 20:02:23 -0500
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My first exposure to Peter Grimes was back in the sixties when I worked at San Francisco Opera.  That year, they were doing Grimes with Jon Vickers.  I loved going to rehearsals, so went to one and thought:  ugh!  I don’t like this.  But, after a few more rehearsals and performances, it worked its magic on me.  Over the years, I’ve seen many performances and collected lots of recordings and it definitely in my top ten favorite operas and one I frequently listen to.  Now this was just my experience, but it is interesting how different people react to different operas.  Of course, Vickers was a good place to start!

Peggy

(,,,) ^..^(,,,)



> On Mar 2, 2018, at 7:21 PM, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Ellen never turns away from Peter. Even after he hits her. Even after she sadly realizes (in 
> the achingly beautiful "Broidery" Aria) that he may well be guilty. And she is even 
> shocked when Balstrode tells Peter (albeit compassionately) that his only choice at the 
> end is to sink himself. 
> 
> Despite its tragic elements, the opera does have a great deal of humor - both in the 
> music and the situations. And if you say that Ellen and Peter's romance is "doomed from 
> the start," well I think one can say that about a huge number of operatic couples. 
> 
> Interesting that 3 of my favorite moments in the score are a-cappella (or virtually so). 
> The first duet between Peter and Ellen at the end of the courthouse Prologue (where they 
> are actually singing in different keys against each other, though those trade-off phrases 
> are closely related enharmonically), Peter's final "mad scene" accompanied only by the a-
> capella offstage chorus and the foghorn - and, always one of the most goosebump-
> inducing spots in the score forme - the huge choral shouts of "Peter Grimes! Grimes! 
> Grimes!" as they go off to search for him before that mad scene. Musical drama at its 
> most intense. 
> 
> To me, Grimes is a masterwork, from beginning to end. But Kiwi, not everyone can like 
> everything, of course, so if you didn't care for it, that's your valid reaction. Maybe if you 
> get another chance with it, you'll find more to like. ;-)
> 
> 
> 
> On Fri, 2 Mar 2018 18:14:20 -0500, Kiwi <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> 
>> Just saw Peter Grimes and must say I have mixed feelings about it.
>> 
>> The staging / directing was simple, direct, and appropriate, the acting committed and 
> the singing was fine. From a general perspective, everything fell into place and the piece 
> was, I think, well presented.
>> 
>> But.....
>> 
>> I don’t know if I liked it.  The composition itself had moments of stirring intensity 
> and was certainly evocative, but I also found parts that grated.   
>> 
>> My companion and I both found the libretto awkward at moments and somewhat 
> rambling, uneven, and unbalanced.
>> 
>> And finally—and of course, this is a personal thing—I hated that Peter never had a 
> chance, that even the idea that he and Ellen had a future together was doomed.  From 
> start to finish, it has to be the most unforgivingly tragic-laden opera I’ve experienced, 
> really a condemnation of society writ large without a single saving grace, since in the end 
> even Ellen turned away from Peter.
>> 
>> I guess I loved some of the music, disliked the story construction, and hated the 
> bleakness.  
>> 
>> What did I miss?
>> 
>> 
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