Listening to Peter & Ben

Listening to Peter & Ben

A performance to explore the possibilities of hearing as a dynamic phenomenon, using a historical recording of the composer and pianist Benjamin Britten and his partner the tenor Peter Pears to uncover an acoustical queer heritage.


Description

A chair. A singer. A record player. Wearing headphones, the singer explores the sounds of an old vinyl record: Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo. The song cycle was the first major composition written by the English composer and pianist Benjamin Britten for the love of his life, the tenor Peter Pears.

The audience observes the singer’s body while listening to the music, but is unable to hear anything themselves. The needle is set back to the beginning and the singer now hums small fragments of what he hears. Next, the singer connects the record player to a speaker and now the audience and singer hear together. Gradually the singer alters more and more parameters of the listening experience.

What happens to the body of a singer when he listens to music? Which words can be used to describe what we hear, and how do these words have an effect on it? When does love become audible?

In this forty-minute performance, director Wenzel U. Vöcks and tenor Daniel Arnaldos explore the possibilities of hearing as a dynamic phenomenon, using this historical recording of Britten and Pears to uncover an acoustical queer heritage.


Photos: Jana Kießer


Concept & StagingWenzel U. Vöcks
Performance & SingingDaniel Arnaldos

A production by Wenzel U. Vöcks, in cooperation with TATWERK | Performative Forschung.
Thank you to Pedro Beriso for his wonderful support as pianist from afar. Thanks to bartmann berlin for the kind support.
The photograph of Britten and Pears used in the performance is suppled courtesy of Britten Pears Arts.


Show history:


This production is available for touring. For further information please contact me.