Peter Grimes / Gloriana

By Benjamin Britten

ISBN: 9780714544250

132 pages

RRP: £8.00

This is a double volume dedicated to two masterpieces by Benjamin Britten. While Peter Grimes established Britten as a composer of international standing, Gloriana, composed for the coronation of Elizabeth II, has never enjoyed a comparable fame. The variety of mood, characterization and pace, in each, illustrates Britten’s exceptional gift for theatre. Commentaries on the scores reveal, for instance, how much the popular concert extracts gain from their context in the dramas. The essay by E.M. Forster – the inspiration for Peter Grimes – is reprinted here, and Michael Holroyd discusses Lytton Strachey’s controversial Elizabeth and Essex – the source for Gloriana.

Contents: Benjamin Britten’s Librettos, Peter Porter; George Crabbe: The Poet and the Man, E.M. Forster; ‘Peter Grimes’: A Musical Commentary, Stephen Walsh; Peter Grimes: Libretto by Montagu Slater; ‘Peter Grimes’ and ‘Gloriana’, Joan Cross, Peter Pears and John Evans; Some Reflections on the Operas of Benjamin Britten, Buxton Orr; ‘A daring experiment’, Michael Holroyd; The Librettist of ‘Gloriana’, Rupert Hart-Davis; The Music of ‘Gloriana’, Christopher Palmer; Notes on the Libretto of ‘Gloriana’, William Plomer; Gloriana: Libretto by William Plomer

For a full list of Calder Opera Guides in association with English National Opera click here


  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten (1913–76) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He showed prodigious talent from an early age and first came to public attention with the a-cappella choral work A Boy Was Born. He leapt to international fame with his opera Peter Grimes in 1945. This was followed by eight other major operas, including Billy Budd (1951), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960) and Death in Venice (1973), as well as other orchestral, choral and chamber works, which established his reputation as one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.