A celebration of love in all its forms: behold the life and love of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears in this performance featuring readings of their letters to each other, paired with choral music from the LGBT+ chamber ensemble The Fourth Choir.

Penned across their nearly forty-year relationship, Britten and Pears’ letters are a time capsule of their deep love for one another - a chronicle of their relationship without inhibition.

In this sequence of words and music, specially devised for Summer at Snape by Séamus Rea, the Fourth Choir’s Creative Producer, the letters are read by the inimitable voices of radio legends Zeb Soanes (Classic FM) and Petroc Trelawny (BBC), interspersed with a programme of choral music by Britten, his contemporaries such as Michael Tippett and Imogen Holst, and his influences from times past including Byrd and Purcell.

Photograph Kathleen Holman

Nicholas Chalmers conductor
Zeb Soanes reader
Petroc Trelawny reader
Séamus Rea creative producer
The Fourth Choir

Benjamin Britten’s letters to his life partner Peter Pears are intimate, honest and revealing – revealing of lives entwined at a time when their love was illegal.

Conor Mitchell, Guardian

Zeb Soanes
Zeb Soanes is the presenter of Smooth Classics at Seven on Classic FM, the UK’s most popular classical music station. For over 20 years he was a newsreader and reassuring voice of the Shipping Forecast to millions of listeners on BBC Radio 4. He was a regular fixture on The News Quiz, reported for From Our Own Correspondent and presented Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3. Sunday Times readers voted him their favourite male voice on UK radio. He also has many acting credits and is the author of the best-selling children's book series, Gaspard the Fox.

Petroc Trelawny
Petroc Trelawny has been a presenter on Radio 3 since 1998. He currently presents Breakfast and was previously co-host of In Tune, the station's drive-time arts magazine.

Raised and educated in Cornwall, he started his career at BBC Radio Devon, as a reporter and presenter, at the age of nineteen hosting the station's major news programming, and soon after becoming one of the nation's youngest newsreaders, presenting bulletins for BBC Plymouth's 'Spotlight'.

Nicholas Chalmers
Nicholas Chalmers is one of the leading conductors in the UK. Founder Artistic Director of Nevill Holt Opera and Senior Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House, Nicholas is widely recognised as having established some of the most exciting and highly successful artistic and education projects in recent years. His work is driven by a passion to bring classical music to the next generation and to ensure that people in areas of under provision have better access to training and engagement in the performing arts.

The Fourth Choir
The Fourth Choir is London's LGBT + chamber choir for advanced singers. They focus on performing great choral works from early music to contemporary choral masterpieces. The choir was formed in September 2013, and their aim from the outset has been to represent the LGBT + community on London's world-class classical music scene.