‹ Back to What's On Peter Grimes

14 Sep - 23 Nov 2013

Revival of 2006 production 

The operatic event of the yearThe Sunday Times

Set in a small fishing community on the English coast, this astounding opera is an utterly absorbing, emotionally compelling experience, not to be missed. Britten’s atmospheric music takes powerful inspiration from the sea, vividly portraying the human drama unfolding around the outsider Peter Grimes.

Running time: approx 3 hours (including 2 intervals)

Festival of Britten Special, book 3 Britten operas and get one free.

Download our complete opera performance diary for 2013-14 here.

Season supported by:

The Opera North Future Fund

What the critics say

Opera North's masterful version of Britten's opera gets a mandatory revival for the composer's centenary, and it's even better than ever

The Guardian - Full Review ›

A very welcome and triumphant revival of Peter Grimes begins Opera North’s Festival of Britten season [...] This production confirms yet again that it is the most significant British opera of the last century.

Bachtrack - Full Review ›

Lloyd’s staging is even better now than when new.

The Times - Full Review ›

Seven years after its premiere, Phyllida Lloyd's production of Peter Grimes continues to be an exhilarating and deeply moving experience which at times grabs the audience by its collective throat.

Opera Britannia - Full Review ›



Peter Grimes - English titles


This production of Peter Grimes, first seen in 2006 and revived in 2008, was conceived and performed without the use of surtitles.  It was originally our intention to surtitle certain passages of the text for this revival, but as rehearsals have progressed we have co... Read More


Britten: A Sense of Place


If you’d like to delve even deeper into Opera North’s Festival of Britten, a special edition of Inside Opera in the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds this coming Saturday afternoon (5 October) supplies the perfect opportunity.  Read More



Richard Angas


We are devastated to confirm that Richard Angas, a much loved and valued artist who has performed over many years with Opera North, was taken ill during rehearsals for Peter Grimes yesterday and died later in hospital. Read More

Peter Grimes casting


Following the sad news of Richard Angas’ death, we are able to announce that the role of Swallow in Peter Grimes will be performed by Dean Robinson.  Read More

  • Ellen Orford GISELLE ALLEN
  • Captain Balstrode ROBERT HAYWARD
  • Bob Boles MARK LE BROCQ
  • Revd Horace Adams IAIN PATON
  • Hobson STEPHEN RICHARDSON (ex 26 October & 9 November)
  • Hobson PAUL HUDSON (26 October & 9 November)
Creative Team
  • Conductor JAC VAN STEEN (ex 26 October)
  • Conductor MARTIN PICKARD (26 October)
  • Set & Costume Designer ANTHONY WARD
  • Lighting Designer PAULE CONSTABLE
  • Original Choreographer KATE FLATT
  • Revival Choreographer TIM CLAYDON

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu

Salford Quays

Find Us

Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal

What you say

Comment from Brian Williams


Brian Williams said ago

I didn't realise I was watching the final performance on Nov. 23rd. I have just tried to find when it is next performed so that I could experience it again. I am a priest and recently, for good reasons, did not allow photographs during a wedding. It transformed the experience - more Christian/religious and less part of the marriage package. So to with Grimes. Total concentration on the performance even I missed some of the dialogue. Wonderful production - had to throw my very wet handkerchief (paper) into the bin afetrwards. Totally riveting performance by Grimes and Orford. Wonderful direction and staging. I have no complaints. The best Grimes I have seen and wish I had pursuaded friends to come. Thanks to all - not least Giselle Allen for her emotion during the curtain call. Jeffrey Llloyd-Roberts made me love Peter. Thanks from a full-time opera-goer.

Comment from Corinne Langowski


Corinne Langowski said ago

I saw the production last night and was so wowed .It mattered not to me about the surtitles. The story was so wonderfully told by the music through the singers and through the stunning production. The acting of the two main protagonists was second to none. The work and commitment shown by the whole cast was awesome. For me this was opera, and Britten at its finest. Thank you thank you, thank you.

Comment from Mike


Mike said ago

Utterly stunning! The orchestra, singing, direction, acting, design, movement, lighting - all superb. Peter grimes is my favourite opera and I have seen several different productions. This is by far the best I have seen.

Comment from jennifer


jennifer said ago

Opera spoilt because words inaudible.
Surtitles essential.

Comment from Opera North


Opera North said ago

Hi YSPclose2me, you posted your comment here http://www.operanorth.co.uk/blogs/peter-grimes-english-titles - where it is displaying as far as we can tell?

Comment from YSPclose2me


YSPclose2me said ago

I am dissapointed that the comment i posted is not displayed with the others - a waste of my time doing it!

Comment from


said ago

I'm back home and leaving this comment and the opera is still going on. I left after act one because of the disastrous omission of surtitles. I think I made out a couple of dozen words and couldn't continue to sit there and pretend I was getting anything out of it.. I am not prepared to say this was a good production, 'but.' The idea of any work of art should be communication, but with the audience deprived of the libretto that was made somewhat difficult. I read the libretto twice during the preceding week, but still couldn't find enough 'signposts' to allow me to keep the thread.
The whole exercise cost me in of £150 so I find Opera North's excuses a bit thin.
If this is done again perhaps the singers, for whom I feel sorry, could just be asked to sing 'rhubarb rhubarb' rather then wasting their time learning the actual words.

Comment from Mary O'Keeffe


Mary O'Keeffe said ago

We agree with many others that the decision not to have surtitles was a spectacular own goal by Opera North - you've needlessly revived the controversy over surtitles which we thought was dead and buried long ago; you will have alienated newcomers to the opers; you will have lost the goodwill of many regulars.
We have seen this opera at least a dozen times over the years and made a round trip of over 500 miles for this production, but found the emotional impact hugely reduced in Leeds - let's hope that in other venues more than 20% of the words will be clearly heard.
I'm afraid we found the printed 'explanation' by the Director and General Director thin and unconvincing - after all, why surtitle 'Death in Venice' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and not 'Peter Grimes'?

Comment from David Keighley


David Keighley said ago

I loved the production. It's the second time I've seen it. I liked the design very much it suited the opera perfectly. With many productions I think there has been too much set with unnecessary set changes - somebody should have given the designer a smaller budget to force them into a better design - Fidelio was a perfect example of this. 90% of the time I had could not tell what they were singing so surtitles would have helped, however they are distracting and I try not to constantly refer to them - you end up watching them instead of looking at the stage.

Comment from DAVID COOPER



A breathtaking and gripping performance but tragically marred by the lack of surtitles and the official justification for this was unconvincing.

Comment from Marion Rout


Marion Rout said ago

Such a powerful and moving performance of this fabulous opera; one of the best opera performances I have seen. Jeffrey LLoyd Roberts was superb and the cast and simple set created all the tension, drama and emotion of this tragic piece. Like others, I was a bit frustrated not to hear the words which are such an integral part of the piece, but, like the production team, I feel that, for Peter Grimes, this would have detracted from the immersion in the story and the music.

My request would be for a simple (cheap!) programme giving a good synopsis and a cast list rather than the very pricey glossy souvenir programme on offer.

Comment from Tony Berry


Tony Berry said ago

A fine evening of music drama (spoiled a little by the lack of good diction) surtitles are needed as oddly if I see the words I can also hear them better
Giselle Allen was a superb Ellen Orford;

But many thanks to staff, cast and orchestra.

Comment from Sean


Sean said ago

I need subtitles. I checked before coming and was told there would be some. I travelled 150 miles and booked a hotel. No subtitles - impossible to follow. That's it for me with ON. Too many let downs.

Comment from Richard


Richard said ago

Third time on Wednesday night. Yet again, a wonderful evening. Again, the final act, the shock on Ellen's face when she sees Peter, lost to reason, his repeated Peter Grimes stripping his name of meaning - heartbreaking.
Everytime I see Jeff Lloyd Roberts as Grimes I learn something else of this complex character.

Comment from John


John said ago

I'm not an opera buff but the music carries this one through for me. The lack of words is a problem at times but the story isn't too hard to follow given the synopsis. To me it was a three-act sandwich in which the second Act was possibly the least tasty. The "business" of building the tower was just distracting and didn't help in describing the town's attitudes to Grimes elsewhere. Obviously there are H&S issues relating to children on stage falling off structures.... but it was clumsy, unconvincing and not involving as far as this audience member was concerned. Also maybe the music palls a bit here.

Grimes' setpiece moments in Acts 1 & 3 were very powerful, mainly through the music and the voice, less through the acting and staging. However the conclusion, and the work with the chorus' motion with the net, was simply magnificent; the hushed ending, spine-chilling

Basically, though, the value lies in that music, in those hands and in that setting. Hats off to Jac Van Steen and a fine orchestra.

Comment from Felix


Felix said ago

I am a great fan of Opera North and, in every production that I have seen over the years, I have been awestruck by the sets and choreography underpinning scene changes. In this respect, I found Peter Grimes quite superb; the scene setting, together with Britten's music, placed us right there in the heart of a fishing village, buffeted by the weather, the people protected by their values and community spirit (and drink!).
However, I struggled to hear the words and, this being an opera that relies upon its narrative more than most, there were times where I drifted off and admired the orchestra, whose fine playing sometimes drowned out the weaker singers.
The chorus were quite superb; their body language and acting added menace and drama to the piece; it's just a pity that I couldn't make out much of what they were actually singing.
Peter Grimes' melody line and his beautiful voice in the third act, combined with the off-stage chorus, so skilfully conducted, was the most moving and emotionally touching part of the performance, the orchestra silence adding to the special change of atmosphere.
In short: Stunning set, great orchestral music in terms of evoking the sea, too few memorable and melodic vocal lines from Britten, some voices too weak, some enunciating superbly. (Ned Keene: heard every word).
Surtitles were needed for this one.
Would I go again? Yes, after reading the libretto a few times in advance.

Comment from John Watts


John Watts said ago

I agree with what has been said about the production and to me the last two Acts were really stunning. The music seems to be more impressive every time I see the Opera. When I saw Peter Grimes on the Beach this was with subtitles and gave the Opera just that extra dimension.

Comment from ian mills


ian mills said ago

Wonderful singing BUT - really needed sub titles and I felt some areas of the production did not excite me as much as previous ON production of PG

Comment from Margaret


Margaret said ago

This is a stunning performance. The dramatic score is further enhanced by the beautiful visuals. The set is simple but highly imaginative and the direction a mesmerising choreography.
I attended the pre-show talk which was excellent, so armed with a description of each act (and also having seen the film version on Aldeburgh beach, which did had subtitles) I did not mind too much when I could not decipher most of the words. In fact looking to the screen to read subtitles would have been a distraction.
This is a very moving, total theatrical experience from the moment the curtain rises.

Comment from Helen Seymour


Helen Seymour said ago

It's the third time I've seen this production and it didn't disappoint: glorious singing and the orchestra sounded marvellous. The production brings out the humanity and dark complexities, as well as the power of the sea. But I think it a great mistake not to have surtitles. There was just not enough clarity to pick up the words - and the words themselves are really important.

Comment from K Flynn


K Flynn said ago

The production was awesome. There were one or two moments when the total silence of the audience said it all.
Sadly, the lack of surtitles was a disappointment. The story of Crabbe's Peter Grimes is a narrative and detail of the story is crucial.
Dialogue with lots of consonants was clearly audible, but anything comprising numerous long vowels was largely incomprehensible.
The lady sitting next to me said she could only follow about a third of it. And you did state in all your literature that surtitles would be a feature.

Comment from Jane Wainwright


Jane Wainwright said ago

My husband and I saw Peter Grimes last Thursday. My husband knew it quite well but it was my first time. It was dark and powerful and very, very moving. I was absolutely enthralled. It was a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done to all involved.

Comment from Graham


Graham said ago

Performances on stage were wonderful - very moving throughout. The orchestra were on top form, relishing many details. An inspired production. The whole experience was marred by not having surtitles. What an arrogant decision! Britten's score is so closely tailored to the poetry that it is a travesty not to have a contemporaneous script - it is too much to expect an opera lover to memorise all that with any accuracy. However careful the performers are to enunciate clearly at every moment (and they surely did everything possible) long notes sung at high pitch lose the important consonants and the meaning is difficult to grasp in the audience.Even more at times of loud orchestral accompaniment or in ensemble pieces. The performers deserved better consideration, as did the spectators.

Comment from Vanessa Lindsay Smith


Vanessa Lindsay Smith said ago

I agree with previous comments. This was a wonderful production, very moving and beautifully sung. And the curate was an excellent substitute for the vicar! But it was a disappointment that there were no subtitles as it was difficult to follow what was going on, especially in the first act. Yes we are of that certain age, but so are a large proportion of the audience. Come on Opera North. Surely you can put this right for the remaining performances?

Comment from Cecil Bloom


Cecil Bloom said ago

My one disappointment was the absence of surtitles. Even though the opera is in English, it is very difficult to pick up the dialogue and titles, just as in opera in other languages, would be helpful for a full understanding of the story.

Comment from CAMW & RHW


CAMW & RHW said ago

We saw Peter Grimes last night and much enjoyed an excellent production. However, the lack of surtitles was a problem - many of the words could not be heard against the very wide span of the orchestral chords. The singing was very good but it was the 'cocktail party' effect, and many in the audience were of an age when this causes difficulties

Comment from Laura


Laura said ago

Absolutely brilliant revival. We also saw the production a few years ago and loved it so much we had to see it again. Powerful, emotional, truthful, compelling, evocative and absolutely heart stopping.

Comment from Opera North


Opera North said ago

Dear John, Richard Mantle (General Director) has explained the decision not to surtitle this production in this blog post http://www.operanorth.co.uk/blogs/peter-grimes-english-titles.

We are taking on board all of the feedback we've received and will be using it as part of an ongoing discussion about the use of surtitles in future productions.

Both of the other operas in our current season; Death in Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream, are surtitled.

Comment from John


John said ago

Is the ON management planning to respond to all the adverse comments about the lack of subtitles? It seems a pity not to have them if they increase the pleasure and understanding of the seminal work.

Comment from Richard


Richard said ago

I saw this production for the second time in a week and repetition does not dimish it's impact. Again superb performances all round, my favourite moment being a muted 'Now the great Bear and Pleiades' revealing the true beauty of the words. All credit to Jeff Lloyd Roberts again not only for his singing but also his superb acting.

Comment from Michael Barton


Michael Barton said ago

Musically and visually stunning.. Pity there were no surtitles as I was only able to pick up occasional words!

Comment from S.Bloom


S.Bloom said ago

Great production visually and musically, but impossible to make out the words most of the time! You really need to read the libretto in advance to know what's happening. The decision not to use surtitle was a mistake.

Comment from M Anderson


M Anderson said ago

Everything about this production was outstanding except for the important fact that the words were very unclear, and I rarely heard a complete sentence. I found this extremely frustrating, and would have loved to see surtitles. The orchestra was superb, and a special mention here for the clarinettists especially in their off -stage performance.

Comment from H.M. Fairweather


H.M. Fairweather said ago

A mistake not to have surtitles - I found it difficult to decipher what many of the principles were singing and this ruined what could have been a wonderful experience

Comment from Steve Terry


Steve Terry said ago

I went to the matinee last Saturday and I'm afraid I came away very disappointed. I've seen lots of performances of Grimes over the years, so perhaps I have unrealistic expectations. But this one never really got me engaged. Perhaps it's the classic 'matinee' effect; but it wasn't helped by Jeff Lloyd-Roberts not being in the best of voice. Lots of the audience obviously enjoyed it greatly - so perhaps it's just me! By the way, I agree with another comment which said that surtitles would have helped. My companion - a Grimes novice - had little idea what was going on for much of the time. Sorry to sound so negative. It's a wonderful opera, and much of the production and singing is excellent. But it just didn't seem to 'gel' last Saturday.

Comment from Una Barry


Una Barry said ago

Just fabulous, well done!

Comment from Richard


Richard said ago

This is the first time I have seen this production and cannot recommend it highly enough. Every element of this production is gold from the ingenious set design on. The singing is superb throughout from chorus to lead with special mention for Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts, the man born to sing Grimes. Whether prowling the stage with menace or wandering bewildered and broken Lloyd-Roberts depth of presence offers insights into this complex man from the arrogant to the pathetic and should not be missed.

Comment from Tim Hills


Tim Hills said ago

See http://www.theoperacritic.com/index.php for another review. But it is behind a paywall, so I don't know what it says. Perhaps Opera North could oblige?

A superbly coherent production in my view. Well worth waiting for since 2006.

Comment from Paul


Paul said ago

I watched the opening night at Leeds Grand.

I can only echo the Guardian review of this opera. The scenery was minimalistic and beautifully simple, adding to the performance rather than distracting - as it did in Faust last November.

The casting was fantastic. Jeff Lloyd-Roberts was sublime to watch and completely mesmerising to listen to. Giselle Allen was also a stand out highlight, but most of all the chorus were outstanding.

Performance highlights for me were the quartet and the Interlude V introduction to Act Three with the iconic sight of Peter Grimes carrying the crumpled body of the boy and holding it aloft... Emotional and stirring.

I will without a doubt be booking a ticket for one of the November performances in Salford.

Comment from Dave


Dave said ago

I saw the opening night of this yesterday and it was fantastic! Visually and sonically stunning.

My only nag is that there weren't any subtitles. Although it was sung in English I hadn't a clue what they were saying half the time.

I only got the gist of what was happening and missed out on the character development and the subtlety and depth of Britten's lyrics. For people who are new to opera, like me, it doesn't make it very accessible.

Having said that, the other aspects of the performance made up for this. Peter Grimes character was sung and acted magnificently, as was Ellen Orford's. The chorus and orchestra were powerfully sublime and supported the performance with ease.

The scenery and staging is fantastic. Simple and beautiful it was mesmerising to watch in it's own right.

Well done Opera North!

Comment from Allan


Allan said ago

I saw this first time round. Electrifying, with a last three minutes to make a stone weep. I can't wait to repeat the experience.

Comment from John Welham


John Welham said ago

I would like to echo James Eden's comments and say that I too would love to see Gloriana revived. I saw it 4 times and also bought the DVD. That said I am looking forward to seeing Peter Grimes again and also can't wait to see Albe rt Herring, Midsummer Night's Dream and Death in Venice. Long live Britten!!

Comment from james eden


james eden said ago

I too missed the original production and am absolutely thrilled to be able to see what I missed. I've followed Phyllida's operatic career since she started with L'Etoile and lover her work. She is undoubtedly the country's pre-eminent interpreter of Britten. The ONLY better option would be a second revival of Gloriana.... Any chance?

Comment from George Darley


George Darley said ago

An absolutely fantastic production of one of the greatest of British operas.

P.S. I remember standing next to Jeffrey L-R at Lancaster University Choral Society circa 1987 ... the boy done good !

Comment from singinhinny


singinhinny said ago

The operatic experience of a lifetime. I have Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (he will make you cry) as my screen-saver...

Comment from Guest


Guest said ago

Wonderful! I missed it first time round and can now see what the hype is about!

Comment from Opera North


Opera North said ago

This is exactly the kind of reaction we hope for when we announce a new season. Thank you so much for sharing!

Comment from Emma Webster


Emma Webster said ago

Just seen the announcement that Opera North are reviving this production of Peter Grimes and all the hairs on my body are standing on end in memory of this electrifying production! Can't wait!

Leave a comment

The Music

Peter Grimes is widely acknowledged as Britten's greatest operas - single-handedly kickstarting an opera renaissance in Britain after its premiere in 1945. Containing some of the composer's most powerful and dramatic music, it will be brought alive by Jac van Steen and many of the original cast including Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts.  

Production Info

Winner of both the South Bank Opera Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society Opera Award, Phyllida Lloyd's extraordinary production is an absolute highlight of Opera North's history. Visually spare and narratively lucid, the production's  overwhelmingly vivid and immediate emotional impact has enthused audiences and critics alike. 

Did You Know?

Peter Grimes is based on part of George Crabbe's poem 'The Borough' (you can read the relevant section here).

Britten originally approached Christopher Isherwood (whose chronicles of his life in 1930s Berlin inspired the musical Carbaret) to write the libretto for Peter Grimes. Only when Isherwood declined, did Britten ask the playwright Motagu Slayer.  

Restaurant Deals


Harvey Nichols: Prix Fixe & Prosecco
Using only seasonal ingredients of the freshest quality from both local and distant sources visit the Fourth Floor Café at Harvey Nichols Leeds and enjoy two courses and a glass of Prosecco for £20 when you dine from our Prix Fixe menu. Diners also have the option to upgrade to three satisfying dishes and a glass of Prosecco for £22.50- an offer not to be missed! Available Tuesday – Friday, between 5.30pm – 10pm. Booking is essential, please call the Fourth Floor Café on 0113 204 8000 or email leeds.reservations@harveynichols.com quoting OPERA NORTH. 

Enjoy 20% off your bill at Sandinista (Cross Belgrave Street - New Briggate) on presentation of your Opera North ticket when placing their food order. To book a table call 0113 305 0372. Food is served till 10pm through the week with final orders at 9pm Friday and Saturday. Only valid on the day of the performance their ticket is for. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Just a short walk from the theatre, another fantastic dining option is The Reliance (76-78 North Street).Treat yourself to the pre-theatre menu served between 5:30 and 6:30pm, Mon - Sat. Enjoy 2 courses for £13.95 or 3 courses for £17.90. Call 0113 2956060 to book a table.

The Food Academy at Flannels have set up a pre-theatre special menu for Opera North audience members. 2 courses for £15.50 or 3 courses for £18.50, the menu can be found here and they ask that people book in advance.

Kendells BistroLocated in St Peters Square, opposite The Leeds College of Music, Kendells Bistro is a casual Informal place to dine with the main focus on quality of food, wine and service within a French bistro atmosphere. Everything stops for tea 2 Courses £17.95, 3 Courses £19.95, 3 Courses £25.95 includes ½ Bottle house wine. Available: Tuesday – Thursday 5.30 – 8.00 pm, Friday - Saturday 5.30 - 7.00pm


10% discount (on food only) in The Restaurant. This discount only applies when you book a table in advance and mention the discount when you book, you will also need to present your Opera North ticket when placing your food order.

The Story

The action takes place in the Borough, a small fishing town on the East Coast of England.

Peter Grimes stands in the dock during a coroner’s inquest. Nearly all the townspeople suspect Grimes of ill-treating his young apprentice, William Spode, with the notable exceptions of the widowed schoolmistress, Ellen Orford, and Captain Balstrode. At the conclusion of the inquest the lawyer, Swallow, proclaims that the boy, whose life Grimes had previously saved during a storm, died in accidental circumstances.

Orchestral Interlude

Act One

Scene One
Ned Keene, the local apothecary, tells Grimes that he has found him a new apprentice, John, whom Ellen offers to look after. The townspeople are scornful of Ellen’s trust in Grimes.

Orchestral Interlude

Scene Two
Townspeople are sheltering in The Boar. Grimes arrives to collect his new apprentice. The crowd thinks that he is either drunk or mad, but he seizes the boy and goes out into the storm.

Orchestral Interlude
Sunday Morning

Act Two

Scene One
Ellen sits at her knitting in the company of young John while the townsfolk make their way to church. She considers a possible future happiness with Grimes while listening to the singing of the congregation. Grimes enters, ordering the boy to help him bring in a shoal of fish. He and Ellen quarrel over John’s right to rest and this leads Ellen to draw attention to his rough, uncompromising ways, echoing the views of the town. Grimes is furious at the thought that the Borough has influenced Ellen. He strikes her and drags John away. The church service concludes.

Orchestral Interlude

Scene Two
Grimes vents his anger at the townsfolk by ranting at his apprentice. The boy falls to his death while helping to pitch fishing nets from the cliff door of Grimes’s hut.

Orchestral Interlude

Act Three

Scene One
The people of the Borough gather to discuss the apprentice’s disappearance and the mood of hatred towards Grimes gains momentum. Despite Grimes’s previous anger, Captain Balstrode and Ellen resolve to offer Grimes what help they can.

Orchestral Interlude

Scene Two
The townspeople are pursuing Grimes. He is discovered by Ellen and Balstrode who, unable to see any future for him, tells him to sail out until he loses sight of land and then sink his boat. The Borough resumes its normal life.

Audio-Described Performances

Peter Grimes will be performed with audio description on the following dates (all performances also have a touch tour starting at 17.45):

  • Sat 26 Oct - Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Sat 9 Nov - The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Sat 16 Nov - Theatre Royal, Newcastle
  • Sat 23 Nov - Theatre Royal, Nottingham