Britten: Peter Grimes – review

Soloists, Chorus of Opera North, Chorus of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Britten–Pears Orchestra/Bedford
(Signum Classics)

This quick-turnaround double CD, complete with libretto, is from the team who pulled off the unimaginable Grimes on the Beach in June at this year's Aldeburgh festival. The recording, however, was made in the more aurally friendly acoustic of Snape Maltings, taken from two concert performances given prior to the beach event. Yet still the musicians manage to evoke the salty east winds in a gripping account in which every word is audible, the orchestral playing and choral work superb. Alan Oke offers a poetic, masterful reading of the title role. Giselle Allen's anguished Ellen Orford and a characterful ensemble of Borough folk make the drama immediate and transparent. If this were my only Grimes recording, I would be happy.


Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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