Grimes, Peter

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(Britten: Peter Grimes). Ten. A fisherman. His Apprentice has died—the second one to do so—and the townsfolk are suspicious of his part in this, despite the inquest verdict of ‘accidental circumstances’. He insists on having a new Apprentice, even though he has been advised by the court to manage without one in future. Grimes's only real friends are the widowed schoolmistress Ellen Orford, whom he hopes to marry, and the retired Capt. Balstrode. The rest of the Borough mistrust and dislike him—Grimes is something of a loner and does not easily socialize. His only wish is to earn lots of money as a fisherman so that he can afford to marry Ellen. He notices shoals of fish in the sea (‘the whole sea's boiling’) and is determined to net them, despite bad weather and the risks involved and orders his new apprentice, John, to change and get ready to sail. When John accidentally falls to his death from their cliff‐top hut, the townsfolk march to find Grimes. Only Ellen and Balstrode believe him, but they also realize that the townsfolk are baying for his blood and there is no way of saving him. Balstrode advises him to take his boat out to sea and sink it and, watched by Ellen, helps him push it out. Arias: What harbour shelters peace?; Now the Great Bear and Pleiades; In dreams I've built myself some kindlier home. Several excellent British singers have taken up this role, but also tenors from the other side of the Atlantic. These have included Philip Langridge, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Anthony Roden, Jeffrey Lawton, Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts, the Canadian Jon Vickers, the Americans Ben Heppner and Anthony Dean Griffey, and not forgetting the Australian Ronald Dowd. Created (1945) by Peter Pears. See also article by Michael Kennedy.

Subjects: Opera.

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