Peter Grimes at San Diego Opera
April 19, 2009
* Notes *
A revival of Peter Grimes opened at San Diego Opera yesterday evening. The production was originally built for San Francisco Opera and the Lyric in 1973, and the set has a certain grey brutality. Gary Marder's lighting was appropriately stark and moody. The costumes, from the Met's old production, are also perfectly traditional.
Steuart Bedford conducted straightforwardly, the orchestra was together, but not always with the singers. The musicians had some lovely, delicate moments during the overtures. The chorus likewise was not quite together in the beginning, but did focus in at the end of the first act. Their vigor flagged after this, and the following two acts were less precise.
The casting was apt, up and down the line. Priya Palekar and Priti Gandhi sang prettily as the nieces, and their auntie, Judith Christin, certainly embodied her role. Rod Gilfry was a stern but sympathetic Captain Balstrode. As Ellen Orford, Jennifer Casey Cabot began rather coldly, her voice is metallic and a bit light. However, her acting was strong, and her scene with the apprentice in Act II was beautiful. Anthony Dean Griffey proved convincing in the title role. His voice is exceedingly sweet, his volume is good, and yet he can be quite forbidding.
* Tattling *
There were more young people than usual at San Diego Opera for Peter Grimes. The audience spoke aloud during the music, though more so in the beginning than at the end. There was significant attrition in attendance, a couple next to us left at the first intermission, as did 6 people in front of us.