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‘What harbour shelters peace?’ On the opera Peter Grimes, exclusion and stigma

  • Lisa Conlan

Summary

Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes premiered in 1945 and has since enjoyed lasting popular and critical acclaim. Its central character is a fisherman driven to suicide by circumstances beyond his control. It has a wide political and social resonance and is a testament to the damaging psychological effects of exclusion and stigma.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Lisa Conlan, Room 906, 285 Mercer Street, New York University, NY 10012, USA. Email: Ic2920@nyu.edu

Footnotes

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a.

This synopsis is based on Slater M (1944) The plot of ‘Peter Grimes'. Tempo, (9): 10–11. Excerpts from the libretto are taken from Slater M (1945) Peter Grimes, The Libretto. Boosey and Hawkes.

Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Brett, P (1977) Britten and Grimes. The Musical Times, 118: 9951000.
Reprinted (2006) in Music and Sexuality in Britten: Selected Essays (ed Haggerty, GE) University of California Press.
Brett, P (2003) Benjamin Britten. Grove Music Online (ed Macy, L) Oxford University Press.
Byrne, P (2000) Stigma of mental illness and ways of diminishing it. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 6: 6572.
Carpenter, H (1992) Benjamin Britten: A Biography. Faber and Faber.
Crabbe, G (1810) The Borough Reprinted (2007) by Dodo Press.
Durà-Vilà, G, Bentley, D (2009) Opera and madness: Britten's Peter Grimes – a case study. Medical Humanities, 35: 106–9.
Goffman, E (1963) Stigma and social identity. In Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Prentice Hall.
Hacking, I (1995) The looping effects of human kinds. In Causal Cognition (eds Sperber, D, Premack, AJ) 351–83. Oxford University Press.
Keller, H (c 1945) Three psychoanalytic notes on Peter Grimes. Reprinted (2003) in Music and Psychology: From Vienna to London, 1939–52 (ed Wintle, C) Plumbago Books.
Kildea, P (2013) Benjamin Britten: A Life in the 20th Century. Allen Lane.
Matthias, J (1999) The Haunting of Benjamin Britten. Electronic Book Review, 1 Jan (www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/prodigal).
Powell, N (2013) Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music. Henry Holt.
Ross, A (2008) The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Thornicroft, G, Rose, D, Mehta, N (2010) Discrimination against people with mental illness: what can psychiatrists do? Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 16: 53–9.
Time (1948) Opera's new face. Time, 16 February.
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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‘What harbour shelters peace?’ On the opera Peter Grimes, exclusion and stigma

  • Lisa Conlan
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