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Requiem
Benjamin Britten triumphs in San Francisco
Benjamin Britten triumphs in San Francisco

When Peter Grimes "is at his exercise," boys die. The title character of Benjamin Britten's first and best-known opera is a social outcast in a claustrophobic fishing village on the raw British coast. A violent visionary, Grimes is abusive toward his young assistants, his actions tell us. He is not a bad man, Britten's remarkable music tells us. The questions "Peter Grimes" poses are sizable. At what point does society turn an individual into a psychopath? At what point does empathy become iniquitous? Operatic calculus cannot, perhaps, solve these most complex of moral equations, but it can help. Over the weekend, the San Francisco Symphony ended a...

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