The highly anticipated opening of Britten’s Peter Grimes at this year’s Brisbane Festival suffered a major setback yesterday evening when star tenor Stuart Skelton became unwell during the performance.

Appearing as the titular Grimes, a calling card role for Skelton, the tenor had been displaying some vocal difficulty but rallied to give a committed performance in the opera’s first act. It was therefore a disappointed audience that received the news from Artistic Director David Berthold after interval that Skelton would be unable to sing the rest of the performance.

Welsh tenor Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, appearing as Reverend Horace Adams and covering the role of Grimes, stepped in to sing acts two and three from the wings, with Skelton walking the role.

Skelton has said he is confident that he will be able to sing at Saturday’s performance, the second and last show in this limited run.

Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts has appeared with most of the major opera companies in the United Kingdom including English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He last appeared as Peter Grimes for Opera North in 2013.

Limelight‘s review of Peter Grimes is available to read now.


Update: A statement from Brisbane Festival

During last night’s Peter Grimes, Stuart Skelton was unable to complete the performance after interval. In the second part, he walked the role and it was sung by leading Welsh tenor Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts. Stuart was devastated not to be able to complete the performance.

This morning, he was diagnosed with severe pollen allergies. He is undergoing appropriate treatment and expects to perform on Saturday in full voice.

Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine