A Britten Collection BOX SET (Teatro alla Scala / English National Opera / Glyndebourne /
Outstanding singers, conductors and directors come together in five diverse but compelling operas by Benjamin Britten. The turbulent, inward fishing community of Peter Grimes is transposed to a merciless 1980s society in Richard Jones’ production, where mutual distrust and dislike have appalling consequences. An ‘outstanding’ Sarah Connolly (Guardian) stars in The Rape of Lucretia, navigating the difficult tale with superb poise and supported by acclaimed baritone Christopher Maltman in the role of Prince Tarquinius. Billy Budd is grippingly staged aboard the claustrophobic HMS Indomitable, with Jacques Imbrailo portraying the troubled sailor and John Mark Ainsley as the tormented Captain Vere in the 2010 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production by Michael Grandage. More light-hearted is the Royal Opera House staging of Gloriana, penned by Britten to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Focusing on the first Queen Elizabeth’s stormy relationship with the Earl of Essex, the production features Susan Bullock as the monarch and Toby Spence as the hot-headed and ultimately treacherous Essex. Finally, Edward Gardner conducts the English National Opera in Deborah Warner’s highly acclaimed production of Death in Venice. John Graham-Hall stars as the ageing Gustav von Aschenbach, whose attraction for a beautiful young Polish boy has fatal consequences. These productions from some of the world’s best opera houses offer five masterful performances that are an ideal way to experience the music of Benjamin Britten.