Music: Opening Night

For the first time since the 1940 blitz, when German bombs drowned out a performance of Faust, London's Sadler's Wells Theater reopened last week. Opening night, the premiere of Benjamin Britten's tragic opera, Peter Grimes, was London's biggest musical event in five years.

Critics pronounced Britten's music full of "vitality" and "force," but found something a little "fierce" in the libretto's psychological case history of a sadistic Suffolk fisherman (adapted from a 19th-Century poem by George Crabbe). The boyish, mild-looking composer (when he was eight he wrote an angry song to be sung by God) indignantly denied that his tale of a...

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