Jon Vickers’s supreme rendition of Grimes’s final soliloquy.
Soliloquy is the only word to use here. This is Lear-like. Unlike Alex Ross, I was lucky enough to see Vickers in this role, also under Colin Davis in Covent Garden, but earlier than this.
Peter Grimes redefined, as the Enigma Variations had done in 1899, what British composers were capable of.
Its premiere at Sadler’s Wells on June 7 1945 belongs to the series of events which rebuilt an exhausted Britain’s morale after the war. July 26 Labour landslide – May 3 1951 opening of Festival of Britain – May 29 1953 conquest of Everest – June 2 Coronation.