Peter Grimes: A Multimedia Semi-Staged Event

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Image Credit MACMOC Design

Michael Tilson Thomas leads over 200 members of the SF Symphony and SFS Chorus in Britten’s Peter Grimes, regarded among “the true operatic masterpieces of the twentieth century.” (The New York Times). Dramatic stage design, an all-star cast of 13 opera singers with Stuart Skelton playing the lead role, and panoramic video sets rising behind the stage “like a big curved sail” (Director James Darrah) tell this thrilling tale of love, madness, and the mysterious deaths left in the wake of the seafaring outcast. This revelatory new interpretation of Britten’s dramatic story will leave you wondering: is Grimes a villain, or a victim of cruel fate?

The SF Symphony Chorus... seem to be getting better every year. Their ability to sing at every possible dynamic, and their wide range of repertory, from Bach to John Adams, is one of San Francisco's serious cultural treasures.”—Michael Strickland, Civic Center blog


Ragnar Bohlin


James Darrah


Stuart Skelton

tenor (Peter Grimes)

Elza van den Heever

soprano (Ellen Orford)

Alan Opie

baritone (Captain Balstrode)

Ann Murray

mezzo-soprano (Auntie)

Nancy Maultsby

mezzo-soprano (Mrs. Sedley)

Nikki Einfeld

soprano (Niece 1)

Richard Cox

tenor (Bob Boles)

Kim Begley

tenor (Horace Adams)

Eugene Brancoveanu

baritone (Ned Keene)

John Relyea

bass (Mr. Swallow)

Kevin Langan

bass (Hobson)

Rafael Karpa-Wilson

silent (John)

San Francisco Symphony


Concert: Approx. 2h 40m, includes intermission.

John Bischoff  bass (1st Fisherman)
Chung-Wai Soong  bass (2nd Fisherman)
Peg Lisi  mezzo-soprano (Fisherwoman)
David Varnum  bass (Dr. Crabbe)
Adam Cole  (1st Burgess)
Matthew Peterson  baritone (2nd Burgess)
Jimmy Kansau  tenor (3rd Burgess/A Lawyer)
Steven Rogino  baritone (4th Burgess)
Kevin Gibbs  tenor (5th Burgess)
Michael Taylor  baritone (6th Burgess)
Cindy Wyvill  soprano (A Woman)

Cameron Jaye Mock  scenic and lighting design
Adam Larsen  video design
Michael Egan  stage manager
Sarah Schuessler  associate costume design
Emily Anne MacDonald  associate scenic design

Read an Article about the Production

"In Davies Symphony Hall, the audience will see not only the video and the singers but also the orchestra, the conductor and the chorus. For this production, the stage has been extended over a few rows of center seats, like a floating island, says [director James] Darrah, to allow for extra performance space and proximity to viewers. 'The set,' he explains, 'is basically a very large, panoramic projection screen that starts at floor level and wraps around the orchestra in a semi-circle. It goes up into the air and breaks open where the chorus is, and then continues up like a big curved sail.' He expects the video to evoke the ambiance of an old-world fishing village battered by the ocean for so long that it has lost all traces of color—a 'cold, steely-gray-blue, whitewashed world… the sea so dark it’s black.'" Read the full article in SFArts Monthly.

See Artists' Renderings of the Set

Models of the set, courtesy of Macmoc Design:

Watch a Video

A behind-the-scenes video of rehearsals for Peter Grimes and interviews with director James Darrah and projection designer Adam Larsen:

Timelapse video of the immersive sets and panoramic video screens for Peter Grimes being installed at Davies Symphony Hall:

Stuart Skelton plays Peter Grimes in Britten's Peter Grimes for Opera Australia:

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  1. Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 8:00pm

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  2. Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 8:00pm

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  3. Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 2:00pm

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Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk with Peter Grunberg, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders.

Program Support

Supported by The Barbro and Bernard Osher Staged Production Fund.