Peter Grimes (includes Sea Interludes)
Benjamin Britten

238

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Down 46. Lowest position since 2005, and the only entry for Britten this year.

Despite reports that Benjamin Britten paced nervously at the back of the Sadler's Wells theatre when Peter Grimes was first performed, this work is now regarded by many as the greatest English opera ever written.

The seeds for Peter Grimes were sown not on these shores, but in Los Angeles. Having left war-struck Britain in 1939, he chanced on George Crabbe's poem The Borough in a second-hand bookshop, and started transforming it into what would become only his second opera, ready for its premiere in 1945.

Maggi Hambling's The Scallop (2003) on Aldeburgh beach.