is an opera
by Benjamin Britten
, with a libretto
adapted by Montagu Slater
from the Peter Grimes
section of George Crabbe
's poem The Borough
. The "borough" of the opera is a fictional village which shares some similarities with Crabbe's, and later Britten's, own home Aldeburgh
, on England's east coast, around 1830.
It was first performed at Sadler's Wells
in London on 7 June 1945, conducted by Reginald Goodall
and was the first of Britten's operas to be a critical and popular success. It is still widely performed, both in the UK and internationally, and is considered part of the standard repertoire. In addition, the Four Sea Interludes
were published separately (as op. 33a) and are frequently performed as an orchestral suite. The Passacaglia was also published separately (as op. 33b), and is also often performed, either together with the Sea Interludes
or by itself.
In 1941, shortly after the premier performance of his opera Paul Bunyan
, Britten and his partner Peter Pears
went to stay at Escondido
. There they read the poem by Crabbe and were struck by it. Britten, being a native of Suffolk
, strongly identified with the tragic story of the Aldeburgh
fisherman Peter Grimes. He later said: "In a flash I realised two things: that I must write an opera, and where I belonged."
Britten returned to England in April, 1942. Soon after his return, he asked Montagu Slater... Read More