Opera 100: An opera synopsis in just one hundred words!
Britten: Peter Grimes Synopsis by: Alexander Campbell
Composer: Benjamin Britten (1913-76)
Librettist: Montagu Slater after George Crabbe's poem The Borough
Ostracised by the stifling Borough community after losing an apprentice at sea, rough fisherman Peter Grimes takes on another workhouse boy. Only sympathetic teacher Ellen Orford supports him. When she later questions his harsh treatment of his new assistant, Grimes strikes her. Witnesses to this incite the crowd to march on Grimes’s hut. To escape them, sailor and apprentice climb down a cliff near their hut, but the boy slips. The apprentice’s disappearance is soon noticed, rumours abound, and a manhunt begins. Ellen and old sailor Balstrode help Grimes to escape by sailing out to sea and scuppering his boat.