Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes, the grim tale of an outcast fisherman hounded by moralistic townspeople, has been called an allegory for the treatment of homosexuals; Britten himself said it was about "the struggle of the individual against the masses. The more vicious the society, the more vicious the individual." The chorus has more to do in Peter Grimes than in almost any other opera, but its instrumental "Sea Interludes," often performed separately, are equally important. Anyone who has seen Moonrise Kingdom knows the uncanny way in which Britten's music is suited to the seaside locale, and he never excelled this opera in terms of individual characterizations, so there's a great variety of forces to keep in balance. The singers, led by tenor Stuart Skelton as Grimes, embody these characterizations to the hilt, and Chandos' sound from the Grieghalle in Oslo brings the listener into the midst of the action yet is impressively clear. However, the triumph of this 2020 recording is that conductor Edward Gardner executes the balance perfectly. The seemingly classical alternation of solos and choruses are kept in sync with the simmering passions of the text, and the instrumental interludes are not breaks in the action, but parts of it. Everything seems to push forward toward the denouement. Gardner has to fuse together four different choirs, not all of them English, and they are compelling indeed. The performances were honed by semi-staged concert presentations of the opera several times before this recording was made, and it doubtless contributed to the sense of cohesion. The real success, though, is that of Gardner, his understanding of the material, and his control over the music-making.