• Peter Grimes Educator Guide

What to Expect from Peter Grimes

The Metropolitan Opera’s new staging of Peter Grimes by Tony Award-winning director, John Doyle, explores the isolated world of a 19th-century fishing village, its judgmental townspeople, and a man they have cast out of their community.

A grim, impoverished seaside village might sound like the last place to set an opera. But in Peter Grimes, Benjamin Britten found the perfect setting for a contemporary tragedy. Peter Grimes brings the expressive power of opera to bear on the repressed, all but inexpressible, emotions that drive so much modern art. Far from the sweeping romantic pronouncements of a Puccini lover, Britten’s protagonist can barely recount the simple facts of his own life story.

  • Classroom Activities

    Two full-length activities, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Three "Musical Highlights" designed to focus briefly on bits of music from Peter Grimes to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts.

Peter Grimes at the Met

Britten’s music is modern, sometimes elusive, often dissonant, but frequently lyrical and always powerfully evocative. Only occasionally will students recognize melodies in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, they’re sure to recognize the confusion and frustration Peter Grimes feels as he struggles both with a society that won’t understand him—and a self he himself barely understands.

The story of Peter Grimes contains adult subjects, such as the suspicion of various forms of child abuse, as well as prostitution and drug addiction. It is recommended that educators read the entire guide before presenting the opera to students and determine the best way to present the material for classroom use.

This guide offers a variety of experiences designed not only to enrich enjoyment of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD transmission of Peter Grimes, but also to help young people engage with the opera’s gripping social commentary and to appreciate the means by which the composer and the artists of the Met bring them to life.

The synopsis can be found here.