Peter Grimes, Op. 33, is an opera in three acts by Benjamin Britten, with a libretto by Montagu Slater based on the section "Peter Grimes", in George Crabbe's long narrative poem The Borough. The "borough" of the opera is a fictional small town that bears some resemblance to Crabbe's – and later Britten's – home of Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on England's east coast.
|Opera by Benjamin Britten|
7 June 1945
Sadler's Wells, London
The work was conceived while Britten was living in the US in the early years of the Second World War and completed when he returned to Britain in 1943. It was first performed at Sadler's Wells in London on 7 June 1945, conducted by Reginald Goodall, and was a critical and popular success. It is still widely performed, both in Britain and internationally, and has become part of the standard repertoire. Among the tenors who have performed the title role in the opera house, or on record, or both are Britten's partner Peter Pears, who sang the part at the premiere, and Allan Clayton, Ben Heppner, Jonas Kaufmann, Philip Langridge, Stuart Skelton, Set Svanholm and Jon Vickers.
Four Sea Interludes, consisting of purely orchestral music from the opera, were published separately and are frequently performed as an orchestral suite. Another interlude, a passacaglia, was published separately and is also often performed, either together with the Sea Interludes or by itself.