Introducing Britten's Peter Grimes

A short introduction to Britten's Peter Grimes

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The LPO's Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski introduces Britten's Peter Grimes, and shares his favourite moments from the opera.






'Sometimes even performances of works that you know very well, and have heard and seen countless times, can take you completely unawares and emerge with unexpected force ...'
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 27 September 2013

'Jurowski's opera experience showed with his sympathetic accompaniment of the soloists, while his handling of the six interludes generated a rich symphonic poem characteristic ... Watching Jurowski handle the constantly changing rhythms of Sunday Morning revealed a conductor on peak form ... This was indeed concert opera with a difference, and in a different class.'
Geoff Read, Seen and Heard International, 29 September 2013

'This, the first event of the Birmingham International Concert Season, proved to be exceptional both from a musical and dramatic perspective bringing facets of Benjamin Britten's operatic masterpiece prominently to the fore. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, in Symphony Hall's bright and clear acoustic, provided some outstanding playing and many felicities that might lie dormant in an opera-house pit were here brought into strong relief.'
Alexander Campbell, Classical Source, 27 September 2013

'Stuart Skelton was simply heartbreaking as a shambling, bewildered Grimes, implying derangement in this lonely fisherman, his vocal flexibility allied to despairing body-language.'
Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 27 September 2013

'Given today's most accomplished interpreter of the violent-visionary fisherman, Stuart Skelton, and a conductor in Vladimir Jurowski always poised hawk-like to claw revelatory new detail from the score, the musical performance was as unforgettable as they come.'
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 29 September 2013

'This was Jurowski's first Grimes and the point at which it truly ignited was that amazing Grimes/Balstrode (Alan Opie) duet in the teeth of the approaching storm. When Skelton roared "And here I shall stay!" Jurowski unleashed the London Philharmonic at a tempo which took the storm's fury to the edge of possibility and made those high violin repeated notes sound like a terrible ringing in the ears.'
Edward Seckerson (blog), 29 September 2013

'Vladimir Jurowski's way with the score was brisk, tense and taut'
Hilary Finch, The Times, 30 September 2013

'This concert staging, tellingly directed by Daniel Slater, made a powerful opening to the London Philharmonic's season ... [Jurowski] launched into the spiky opening with typical laserlike precision, and made the orchestra an active protagonist in summoning up the fierce elements of the Suffolk seaside setting.'
John Allison, The Telegraph, 30 September 2013

'A fine evening of music, performance and stage-craft ... By the time Grimes, as determined by Balstrode, was living his last minutes and heading out to sea never to be seen again, very poignantly done here, the LPO and Jurowski had artistically been walking on water.'
Colin Anderson, Classical Source, 30 September 2013

'Vladimir Jurowski conducted a fascinating Britten Peter Grimes with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. Fascinating, because Jurowski finds things in Britten other conductors don't get in the first place ... '
Doundou Tchil, Classical Iconoclast (blog), 29 September 2013

'With an interpretation of white hot intensity from Jurowski, superb playing by all sections of the LPO and a cast that could hardly be bettered today, and you have a performance that was overwhelming in its dramatic and musical intensity ... this performance reminded us not only of what a great artists he is, but that Peter Grimes is a masterpiece. I for one cannot think of a more fitting way to honour Britten's centenary.' (5 stars)
Keith McDonnell, What's On Stage, 29 September 2013

'Vladimir Jurowski's affinity with the LPO is beyond question by this point in their decade-long professional relationship, and his clinical, driven approach to the score brought some beautifully clear playing from the orchestra. And time and again, a scene's climax would arrive almost by surprise, and be all the more breathtaking for it.' (5 stars)
Paul Kilbey,, 30 September 2013

'The LPO played superbly under the baton of its principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski ... To hear the music played as the masterpiece that it is, packed with drama and yet with no particular slant placed upon it, was the essence of this sensational evening.' (5 stars)
Sam Smith,, 1 October 2013

'We didn't need church, shore, hut or pub – we saw them in our mind's eye, inhabited by a high-calibre cast and silhouetted by vividly coloured orchestral playing, not least in an immaculately tuned "Morning" interlude and a Passacaglia of Prokofiev-like spikiness.' (5 stars)
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 4 October 2013

'One of the most dramatically gripping and emotionally poleaxing performances I have ever heard of a piece that seems to grow in stature with every performance.'
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 6 October 2013

Booking Info

Royal Festival Hall 2013/14

  • Please note that a transaction fee of £1.75 will be added to each order made online.
  • Tickets booked fewer than five working days before the date of the concert will be available for collection at the ticket office from 6.30pm on the day of the performance.
  • Concessions: 50% off all ticket prices for full-time students, benefit recipients (Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit) and under-16s (maximum 4 per transaction. Not applicable to Family Concerts) only. Limited availability; appropriate cards will be checked on admission.

Premium seats £65
The very best seats in the stalls, ensuring you the finest acoustic and view, are available as Premium seats.

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Book 3-4 concerts and receive a 10% discount
Book 5-7 concerts and receive a 15% discount
Book 8-10 concerts and receive a 20% discount
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Book 15 or more concerts and receive a 30% discount

Only nine tickets per concert can be bought online. Bookings of ten or more seats for the same concert are eligible for the group booking discount of 20%. Please call the London Philharmonic Orchestra Group Booking Line on 020 7840 4205 for further details.

Offline booking

London Philharmonic Orchestra ticket office: 020 7840 4242
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm. £2.75 transaction fee

Southbank Centre ticket office: 0844 847 9920
Daily 9.30am-8pm. £2.75 transaction fee. All ticketing staff at Southbank Centre can take typetalk calls.
In person at Southbank Centre: no transaction fee.

Minimum age

7.30pm concerts are not recommended for children of five years and under, and Southbank Centre staff reserve the right to refuse entry to young children for these events. We recommend our FUNharmonics concerts for children.

Peter Grimes: Cast Away

Britten's landmark opera of the 20th century, Peter Grimes.

7:00 PM, ​ Royal Festival Hall, London

Britten Peter Grimes

Vladimir Jurowski conductor
Stuart Skelton Peter Grimes
Pamela Armstrong Ellen Orford
Alan Opie Captain Balstrode
Pamela Helen Stephen Auntie
Malin Christensson/Elizabeth Cragg Her ‘Nieces’
Michael Colvin Bob Boles
Brindley Sherratt Swallow
Jean Rigby Mrs Sedley
Mark Stone Ned Keene
Brian Galliford Reverend Horace Adams
Jonathan Veira Hobson
London Voices
Daniel Slater director
Alex Doidge-Green designer
Tim Mascall lighting designer

Some months after emigrating to America, Benjamin Britten began to read George Crabbe’s narrative poem The Borough – the story of an ostracised fisherman on the North Sea coast. An opera on the subject stirred inside Britten, as did the realisation that he had to come home. He did so, and when the resulting opera Peter Grimes was premiered in 1945, it kick-started an operatic renaissance in Britain overnight. Peter Grimes – underpinned by benign and savage pictures of the North Sea – is one of the landmark operas of the 20th century, from whose chilling tale of marginalisation and persecution Britten created his most powerful and dramatic music.

This concert is is generously supported by the Peter Grimes Syndicate and dedicated to the memory of Nicholas Busch.

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