Peter Grimes (includes Sea Interludes)
Benjamin Britten


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The only entry for Benjamin Britten in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has appeared in the annual chart 15 times and reached its highest position of 156 in 2009.

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.