Benjamin Britten

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Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was a leading British composer, conductor and pianist. He produced works in a wide variety of forms, opera being a particular strength. His most famous works include the War Requiem and the opera Peter Grimes.

Since his death, considerable information has emerged concerning Britten's close emotional attachments to young boys, some of them performers in his own works. A prominent example was David Hemmings who, at the age of twelve, created the role of Miles in Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw, based on the Henry James novella. (Hemmings went on to become a well-known film actor.)

Britten's last opera was Death in Venice (1973), based on the novella by Thomas Mann, in which an elderly writer becomes obsessed with a beautiful young boy.

Further reading

John Bridcut, Britten's Children, Faber and Faber, 2006.

Humphrey Carpenter, Benjamin Britten: A Biography, Faber and Faber, 1992.