Thursday, September 20, 2018

Queensland's Peter Grimes

How disappointing it must be for an artist to travel half way around the world to sing, then fall ill. That happened to Stuart Skelton this week.
Stuart Skelton as Peter Grimes
I came up from Sydney to see the Queensland Opera production of Peter Grimes. I saw it this evening, a very successful semi-staged version.

Skelton managed the first act, then handed over to a stand-in. Although not well, he very generously acted the rest while his substitute stood at the side and sang from the score. It makes a big difference to have someone who can act the part on stage, even if they don't sing and Skelton is the quintessential Grimes.

Last time I saw a substitute sing in the wings was in Leipzig when a lead singer in Die Frau Ohne Schatten was ill and in that case an assistant marked the singers movements. It helped, but was not nearly as successful. This is when you realise that opera singers really have to be good actors as well as extraordinary singers. It is a very demanding profession.

21 Sept. Addendum: I got an email from Queensland Opera today apologising that Stuart Skelton was unable to sing the full performance. Apparently the doctor diagnosed severe pollen allergies. He'll apparently sing the full concert on Saturday.

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