Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh / Coventry

The series about historical places of opera art & culture. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh / Coventry.


All Destinations on google maps with links to detailed Blogposts:





Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh / Coventry

Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears

Along with Elgar, Britten was the greatest British composer of classical music in the 20th century and one of the most important opera composers of the century. He spent most of his life in the East of England, in addition to three years in the USA.

He lived there with his muse and most important performing artist, the tenor Peter Pears, and he founded with him the renowned Aldeburgh Festival at their home.



Aldeburgh Seafront:



Destination Red House Aldeburgh (Museum)

When Britten and Pears returned to Aldeburgh in 1942 after their stay in the USA, they lived in the Crag House for 15 years. With the increasing success of the festival they founded together and the growth of their art collections, they changed houses with an acquaintance and moved into the so-called “Red House”, a 17th century red brick house.

The house was gradually enlarged and, after their deaths, houses the Benjamin Britten Foundation. There, a museum with its archive exhibits memorabilia and parts of the art collection of Pears and Britten.

Red House Aldeburgh:

red house aldeburgh Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Peter Pears Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)



Destination Coventry Cathedral

St. Michael’s Church was destroyed by a German air raid in 1940 during the Second World War. Only a few outer walls remained. In 1962, a new cathedral was built next to the ruins. For the solemn inauguration, Britten wrote his famous War Requiem. Britten was a pacifist and used a text by a poet who died in the First World War. Britten visited the Belsen concentration camp with Yehudi Menuhin in 1945, and so this work became a matter of the heart for him.

The destroyed cathedral:

Coventry Cathedral St. Michael's old Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Peter Pears Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)

The newly built cathedral next to the remains of the old one:

Coventry Cathedral St. Michael's new Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Peter Pears Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)



Destination Aldeburgh Festival

As early as 1948, Pears and Britten founded the festival in the local Jubilee Hall in rural Aldeburgh. Initially conceived in the Wagnerian manner as a performance venue for their operas, the festival gradually expanded in content. It took a big leap when a new festival center opened in a nearby disused maltings factory in 1967. The hall fell victim to a fire just 2 years later, but was soon reopened in the presence of the Queen. Several important works by Britten were premiered at the festival over the years, such as “A midsummer nights Dream” and “Albert Herring.” Many prominent musicians became involved in the artistic direction (Perahia, Rostropovich, Simon Rattle, etc.) and made this festival an important artistic center of music, which was no longer limited to Britten. Many prominent artists also sang here (Fischer-Dieskau, Janet Baker, etc.).

The festival is of high artistic quality and still very well attended, the rural environment is a hallmark of this annual event held in June.

Festival hall in Snape maltings factory:

Aldeburgh Snape Maltings ConcertHall Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Peter Pears Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)



Destination cemetery Aldeburgh

In Aldeburgh Cemetery, the graves of Pears and Britten are next to each other. Pears outlived Britten, who died in 1976, by 10 years.

Graves of Pears and Britten:

Tomb Peter Pears Benjamin Britten Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Peter Pears Travel Reisen Culture Tourism (1)



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