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OV

1 April

Packing a Punch as Peter Grimes

It will have been hard for OVs to miss the sensational, 5* reviews of OV Allan Clayton’s MBE (H 91-99) performance in his latest production: Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes.

This new production of Peter Grimes, directed and produced by Deborah Warner and conducted by Sir Mark Elder, has just finished its run at the Royal Opera House, following its premiere in Madrid in 2021. In precis, the opera is about a Suffolk Village rising up when a lone fisherman (Peter Grimes) loses an apprentice at sea.

A multi-award-winning singer, Allan is established as one of the most exciting and sought-after singers of his generation. The Guardian has called Allan’s depiction of the lead role as “tremendous” and “arguably the finest performance of his career to date”. This is heartily supported by The FT, whose review enthused, “Tenor Allan Clayton is vocally outstanding in the role, powerful, sensitive and dealing with its idiosyncratic vocal challenges as if they are no problem at all.” The i’s review was similarly impassioned, “On a stage packed with vocal fire-power, Allan Clayton owns this part so completely that it’s hard to imagine anyone else singing it.”

Allan Clayton in Peter Grimes from Royal Opera HousePhoto Courtesy of the Royal Opera House

Peter Hibbert (Hon OV), who taught at King’s whilst Allan was a pupil, was fortunate enough to attend Peter Grimes this week. Of the performance, he tells us, “I had the immense privilege of listening to Allan singing the role of Peter Grimes in Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece at the Royal Opera House on Saturday evening. This was a performance of searing intensity that will live in the memory for a very long time. Allan sang Now the Great Bear and Pleiades with his back to both the cast and the audience. This was an extraordinarily moving moment – absolute genius.”

We were honoured when Allan agreed to join our Barnabas Group in 2018, which celebrates inspirational OVs who have excelled in their chosen profession. Allan kindly came to the School to talk with pupils about his School experiences, and generously gave not only a masterclass to some King’s singers but also a recital in College Hall.

It is a delight to see Allan’s career go from strength to strength, and our many congratulations on this triumphant run.