Partner Benjamin Britten, buried together
Newark House, Searle Rd, Farnham GU9 8LJ, Regno Unito
Lancing College, Lancing BN15 0RW, Regno Unito
University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, Regno Unito
Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2BS, Regno Unito
105 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T, Regno Unito
Foxhold, Foxhold Bucklebury Common, Bucklebury, Reading RG7 6RT, Regno Unito
43 Nevern Square, Kensington, London SW5 9PF, Regno Unito
67 Hallam St, Marylebone, London W1W, Regno Unito
45A St John's Wood High St, London NW8 7NJ, Regno Unito
5 Chester Gate, London NW1 4JH, Regno Unito
Crag House, 13 Crabbe St, Aldeburgh IP15 5BW, Regno Unito
The Red House, Golf Ln, Aldeburgh IP15 5PZ, Regno Unito
St Peter and St Paul, Aldeburgh, Regno Unito
Sir Peter Neville Luard Pears, CBE (22 June 1910 – 3 April 1986) was an English tenor. His career was closely associated with the composer Benjamin Britten, his personal and professional partner for nearly forty years.
In 1936, after his friend, Peter Burra, was given a long-term loan of a cottage on Bucklebury Common, Berkshire, Pears began to stay with him regularly, and it was through Burra that he got to be friendly with the rising young composer Benjamin Britten, who had become another good friend of Burra's. In 1937 Burra was killed in an air crash. Pears and Britten volunteered to clear his possessions from the cottage, and their daily contact during this period cemented their friendship. Pears quickly became Britten's musical inspiration and close (though for the moment platonic) friend. Britten's first work for him was composed within weeks of their meeting, a setting of Emily Brontë's poem, "A thousand gleaming fires", for tenor and strings.
Pears' musical career started slowly. He was at first unsure whether to concentrate on playing or singing, and despite the efforts of some of his friends, it was not until he met Britten in 1937 that he threw himself wholeheartedly into singing. Once he and Britten were established as a partnership, the composer wrote many concert and operatic works with Pears's voice in mind, and the singer created roles in more than ten operas by his partner. In the concert hall, Pears and Britten were celebrated recitalists, known in particular for their performances of lieder by Schubert and Schumann. Together they recorded most of the works written for Pears by Britten, as well as a wide range of music by other composers. Working with other musicians, Pears sang an extensive repertoire of music from four centuries, from the Tudor period to the most modern times.
With Britten, Pears was a co-founder of the Aldeburgh Festival in 1947 and the Britten-Pears School in 1972. After Britten died in 1976, Pears remained an active participant in the festival and the school, where he was director of singing. His own voice had a distinctive timbre, not to all tastes, but such was his musical skill that he could use the voice to good effect in many styles of music.
Pears died in Aldeburgh on 3 April 1986 at the age of 75. He was buried beside Britten in the churchyard of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, Aldeburgh.