Being Britten

The great tenor Peter Pears was Benjamin Britten's muse. Now Ian Bostridge is singing his darkest roles

Ian Bostridge is famous for his Schubert and many Britten interpretations. The British tenor will have his house debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with one of his most celebrated roles.
Death in Venice

I have always admired Peter Pears. He died shortly before a mutual friend was going to introduce us to one another. Pears was an extraordinary singer who was able to cleverly merge text and vocals. Benjamin Britten wrote songs, poetry and even operas for Pears, and drew inspiration from Hölderlin, Rimbaud and Schubert. They both simply had this wonderful taste. I will sing the role of Aschenbach in Berlin, the lead role in DEATH IN VENICE.

Most people are downright possessed by the homoerotic background of the subject matter. Yet the opera also tells a much larger story, one about aging, dignity and the burden of being oneself.

Thomas Mann wrote his story about a Goethe character who falls in love and loses his dignity in so doing. Pears and Britten, too, always suffered from the burden of being Benjamin Britten – the greatest living composer in Great Britain. And that is precisely how Pears sang his Aschenbach – as Benjamin Britten.


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