Mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker officially opens the Britten-Pears Archive today. Constructed in the grounds of The Red House in Aldeburgh - which Benjamin Britten shared with Peter Pears from 1957 until his death 1976 - the purpose-built archive is the result of a £4.7m investment by the Britten-Pears Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Designed by architects Stanton Williams, the archive includes manuscripts for over 700 pieces of music, diaries, 80,000 letters, photographs, recordings, films, costumes, set models, art and books. Britten's composing studio at The Red House has also been completely restored to its earliest incarnation from 1958.
The archive 'will ensure that our unique collection can be kept in optimal conditions for generations to come and will bring alive to all our visitors what makes Britten one of the greatest composers of the 20th century,’ said Britten-Pears Foundation director Richard Jarman. ‘What we have at The Red House is exceptional – a rich and illuminating collection held in the very place where Britten lived and composed, with all its extraordinary spirit of place. It is destined to be a site of pilgrimage for music lovers all over the world.’
For further information visit the Britten-Pears Foundation website.