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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Benjamin Britten - Peter Grimes

                           

One of my favourite works of Twentieth Century music would have to be Benjamin Britten's opera, Peter Grimes.  First performed on this day back in 1945 by Sadler's Wells, it was hailed as the first true 'English' opera since Purcell's Dido and Aeneas nearly 400 years ago.

The theme of Peter Grimes is one that resonates with me personally, described in the composer's own words as 'the struggle of the individual against the masses' and by another source as 'a powerful allegory of homosexual oppression'.

Here is one of my most treasured moments of this fabulous score, full of melancholy and sorrow but also great beauty, sung by the original cast, conducted by Britten himself.  I like to describe it as a trio for four singers, with Aunty's Nieces singing (almost) in unison.  It's totally haunting and I hope this gives you a taste for Britten's amazing music.

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