Notes and Editorial Reviews
This set received the 1997 Grammy Award for "Best Opera Recording."
'Peter Grimes' established Benjamin Britten as the leader of his generation of English composers. Crafted by Britten and playwright Montagu Slater from a George Crabbe poem, it tells the gruesome story of the deranged fisherman Peter Grimes who seems to have a problem keeping his young boy apprentices among the living. The opera shows the striking influence of Berg's 'Wozzeck' with orchestral interludes adding commentary throughout, and Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess,' another fishing village tale, with the chorus looming large in the dialogue.
This Chandos/Opera London production is a triumph. Philip Langridge, one of the most intelligent and dramatically acute of tenors, is intense in the title role but not over-the-top, leaving enough self-awareness in the character for him to remain human and therefore all the more tragic. Richard Hickox does his usual excellent job of marshalling large forces with attention to both detail and long range goals, but the London Symphony chorus is revelatory, positively heroic in an opera where the chorus really counts.