Peter Grimes

Peter Grimes, by Benjamin Britten, starring Peter Pears, conducted by Britten, made for t.v. ★
This is an opera that has been recorded for DVD at least 5-6 times and usually gets a 5-star rating. This performance by the composer himself has the highest reviews of all. Yet, both Betsy and I sat entirely bewildered for at least 2 hrs. and 15 minutes. This piece did not appear to have any remarkable creativity at all. It is exactly the sing-songy type of speech one would make if one chose to satirize an opera. The storyline also was entirely incoherent. It was quite obvious that Britten wished to make strong anti-Christian statements, but did so quite poorly, the storyline showing hypocritical Christian leaders condemning Peter Grimes, and not showing sympathy for him. Yet, it was Peter Grimes that was money-grubbing, resulting in driving a child to death at the beginning of the opera and then the end of the opera again. No wonder the “Christian” folk were upset! Britten was a flagrant homosexual, and his lover was Peter Pears, thus, he wrote many pieces supposedly for Peter Pears. Perhaps his utilization of a boy-servant for Peter Grimes was not quite appropriate in such a setting. All in all, this work had no consistency for music, there were no musical episodes that one could call great composed music, the plot was horrible, and if a statement was attempted to be made, it was made quite poorly. This is an opera that I would never waste my time watching again. Don’t waste your time.