Florian Simson (Bob Boles), Sylvia Hamvasi (Ellen Orford), Dawid Kimberg (Ned Keene), Tomasz Konieczny (Balstrode), Renée Morloc (Auntie), Ensemble und Chor der Deutschen Oper am Rhein | © Hans Jörg Michel
Peter Grimes
Benjamin Britten
Theater Duisburg
Saturday, 26. October 2013
19:30 - 22:30 hours
/ Revival

Duration: about 3 hours, one interval
16,10 - 56,00 € Abo.+F
Duration: about 3 hours, one interval

The fisherman Peter Grimes is suspected of having caused the death at work of his apprentice. The people of the little coastal town want to see Grimes brought to justice. But judge Swallow acquits him. His verdict is that his actions were caused by a concatenation of unfortunate circumstances. He warns Grimes that people will not forget the case. The teacher Ellen Orford wants to help Grimes and tries to instil courage in him. But Grimes knows that suspicion of him will not cease.



As on every morning, people are about their business. Grimes is working alone and needs help. But all turn away; only old Captain Balstrode and the apothecary Ned Keene will have anything to do with him. Keene makes to obtain a new apprentice for Grimes from the orphanage. Hobson the carter refuses to go to fetch him. Ellen declares herself willing to accompany him and to look after the boy. A storm comes up and drives the people indoors. Balstrode tries to persuade Grimes to leave the place and to begin a new life elsewhere. Grimes demurs. He intends to face up to people’ s antagonism.


In Auntie’ s bar people in panic are sheltering from the storm. Mrs. Sedley urgently needs new a pain killer. The Methodist priest Boles forgets himself and harasses Auntie’ s nieces; they are reproved for this by Balstrode, which gets him into a quarrel with Auntie. When Grimes turns up, all resentment is diverted towards him. Auntie is afraid there may be a fight. Just in time Keene starts a round song and everyone joins in, until Ellen arrives with the apprentice. Grimes takes the boy away to his cottage.



While the whole village is at church service, Ellen is attending to the boy. She wants to get him to talk, but he remains silent. Then she discovers signs of abuse on his neck and demands an explanation from Grimes, who has come to take the boy to work. Ellen and Grimes begin to quarrel. People coming out of church see Grimes rushing away with the boy. They accuse Ellen of being partly to blame for the boy’ s plight. In a group they set out to search Grimes’ cottage for signs of guilt.


Grimes presses the boy to help prepare the boat for departure. He has increasingly wild visions of finally making a big catch which will make him rich and able to marry Ellen. But the image of his dead former boy haunts him. He hears the excited crowd of villagers coming and drives his new apprentice out of the back door to the cliffs, where he falls to his death. When the villagers come, they find Grimes’ cottage empty.



Grimes has not been seen for days. In front of Auntie’ s bar, Mrs. Sedley declares that she fears the worst. Ellen has found the boy’ s jacket washed ashore under the cliffs. She and Balstrode are anxious about Grimes. Mrs. Sedley overhears them talking and concludes that a crime must have occurred. A search party sets out to find and punish Grimes.


Grimes is tormented by memories and hallucinations. The voices of Ellen and Balstrode reach him. The latter hints at a way out: Grimes should go out to sea and scuttle his boat. People begin a new day. What has become of Grimes remains hearsay.


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