Chapter

“Grimes Is at His Exercise”

Philip Brett

in Music and Sexuality in Britten

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246096
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520246096.003.0003
“Grimes Is at His Exercise”

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Grimes is very much an ordinary weak person who, being at odds with the society in which he finds himself, tries to overcome it and, in doing so, offends against the conventional code, and is classed by society as a criminal. It is a particular irony of the fifty-year-old repertory opera, Peter Grimes, that the singer who premiered the role of the protagonist, and still the only one apparently capable of singing the notes as written, was also the person who drafted the scenario, and even wrote bits of the libretto. He happened to be the composer's lover, whose auditions for that role were evidently as protracted and demanding as those for the role of Peter Grimes, which was originally conceived for a baritone, and given to him well into the course of the project.

Keywords: libretto; protagonist; Peter Grimes; violence; politics; sex

Chapter.  7179 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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