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Open Features: Peter Pears

Peter Wintersgill outlines the life of Peter Pears for whom Benjamin Britten wrote a number of operatic roles.

22nd. June 1910 in Farnham.

Arthur, civil enginer



Studied at R.C.M. then organist at Hertford College Oxford.

Adult life
Joined the B.B.C. Singers in 1934. Went to U.S.A. in 1939 with his friend Benjamin Britten, returned in 1942. Sadlers Wells debut 1943, creating role of Peter Grimes there in 1945, also many Britten roles, which were written with him in mind, eg Vere in Billy Budd, Aschenbach in Death in Venice, Essex in Gloriana,Wingrave in Owen Wingrave, Quint in The Turn of the Screw, also many solo roles. He also created Panderus in Walton's Troilus & Cressida 1954.

A notable singer of Schubert lieder & other songs, he was created C.B.E. in 1957 & knighted in 1978.

He died 3rd April 1986 in Aldeburgh aged 75.


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