For the second time in three days, David Alden's mighty staging of Peter Grimes for English National Opera has been hit by cast illness.

Michael Colvin in his usual role as Bob Boles in ENO's Peter Grimes
Michael Colvin in his usual role as Bob Boles in ENO's Peter Grimes
© Robert Workman
Both of the leading players in Britten's powerful opera have succumbed to a winter bug and have had to withdraw from the performance tonight (8 February). The Australian Stuart Skelton (Grimes) and the South-African Elza van den Heever (Ellen Orford) will be replaced by Michael Colvin and Judith Howarth respectively. Both were loudly cheered for their last-minute appearances last Thursday.

Stepping again into Colvin's usual role of Bob Boles is the fine tenor Robert Murray, who was outstanding in the same part in last year's Grimes on the Beach, the Aldeburgh Festival project that won the 'Event of the Year' category in the WhatsOnStage Opera Poll. The rest of the cast is as advertised.

After today, Peter Grimes has a scheduled six-day hiatus before returning on Friday 14 February.