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Music and Sexuality in BrittenSelected Essays$
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Philip Brett and George Haggerty

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246096

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246096.001.0001

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“Grimes Is at His Exercise”

“Grimes Is at His Exercise”

Sex, Politics, and Violence in the Librettos of Peter Grimes

(p.34) Chapter Two “Grimes Is at His Exercise”
Music and Sexuality in Britten

Philip Brett

University of California Press

Grimes is very much an ordinary weak person who, being at odds with the society in which he finds himself, tries to overcome it and, in doing so, offends against the conventional code, and is classed by society as a criminal. It is a particular irony of the fifty-year-old repertory opera, Peter Grimes, that the singer who premiered the role of the protagonist, and still the only one apparently capable of singing the notes as written, was also the person who drafted the scenario, and even wrote bits of the libretto. He happened to be the composer's lover, whose auditions for that role were evidently as protracted and demanding as those for the role of Peter Grimes, which was originally conceived for a baritone, and given to him well into the course of the project.

Keywords:   libretto, protagonist, Peter Grimes, violence, politics, sex

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