Upon their return, they performed Britten's Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo together at Wigmore Hall, and then recorded them for EMI, their first recording together. Many of Britten's works contain a main tenor role written specifically for Pears. These include the Nocturne, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, the Canticles, the operas Peter Grimes and Albert Herring (title roles), The Beggar's Opera (Macheath), Owen Wingrave (Sir Philip Wingrave), Billy Budd (Captain Vere), The Turn of the Screw (Quint), Death in Venice (Aschenbach) and the three Church Parables. Pears was co-librettist for A Midsummer Night's Dream, and created one of his few comic roles in it: As Flute the Bellowsmender he performed a drag parody of Joan Sutherland in the mad scene of Lucia di Lammermoor. His voice was controversial, the vocal quality being unusual, described as "dry" and "white". It was cruelly said that he had one good note, E-natural a third above middle C, which is why the crucial aria of Peter Grimes, "Now the Great Bear and Pleiades", is mainly written on that note. Its quality did not record well, but there is no doubt that he had unusually good articulation and vocal agility, of which Britten also took advantage. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in October 1974 as Aschenbach in Death in Venice.
He sang regularly at the Royal Opera House and other major opera houses in Europe and the United States. He was also a celebrated interpreter of Franz Schubert's Lieder, usually with Britten as accompanist and he gave notable performances as the Evangelist in Johann Sebastian Bach's Passions. He was knighted in 1978. His grave is in the churchyard of Saint Peter and Saint Paul's Church in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, adjacent to the grave of Benjamin Britten. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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