Brisbane audiences have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear famous heldentenor Stuart Skelton sing in Benjamin Britten's opera, Peter Grimes, September 20 & 22, at Concert Hall, QPAC.
It's quite a coup for Queensland, with two exclusive semi-staged concerts as part of Brisbane Festival, and it's also the first time the opera has been performed here since 1958. Australian superstar Skelton will fly here from London during a break in rehearsals of Wagner's Die Walküre at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, to perform.
If you're not familiar with the musical and theatrical masterpiece, Peter Grimes, you're in for a treat. It's considered the defining British opera of the 20th century, and features Britten's most evocative sea-inspired music, including the Four Sea Interludes. The story is about Peter Grimes, a gruff fisherman, who takes a young apprentice out to sea who then dies. Although Grimes is found innocent in court, he's treated as a murderer and has to endure rumours and face mob rule.
The Grammy-nominated Skelton will sing the iconic title role with an international team of stars plus the full Queensland Symphony Orchestra led by Scottish conductor Rory Macdonald, and Opera Queensland Chorus. The staging is by leading U.K. director, Daniel Slater. Joining Skelton are top British singers soprano Sally Matthews as Ellen and baritone Mark Stone as Balstrode, with many other local singing stars.
Festival Artistic Director David Berthold says that heldentenor Skelton is unrivalled as Peter Grimes: "I heard him sing it six months ago, and it was the greatest musical experience of my life." A heldentenor is basically a tenor voice of great weight and sonority, with characteristics of a baritone, and all the critics say Skelton is one of the world's finest.
These two performances have been made possible through generous donors (the Peter Grimes Giving Circle), sponsors and presenting partners. It's presented by Brisbane Festival, Opera Queensland, Philip Bacon AM, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
By Vicki Englund
Brisbane Festival is a valued partner of Must Do Brisbane.com