Previously unknown Peter Pears letters and other treasures in new archives acquisition

We are delighted to announce the recent acquisition of an archive belonging to the singer and former Trinity College of Music staff member Morag Noble (1931-1993).

Morag Noble c.1950.

Morag Noble c.1950s, MNC 7/3

During her career Morag appeared at the UK’s finest opera houses including Sadler’s Wells, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne. She made her debut at Covent Garden as a page in Lohengrin in 1963 and two years later took the role of one of the virgins in the British stage premiere of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aaron under Sir Georg Solti. As a recitalist she gave regular broadcasts for the BBC working frequently with the pianist Paul Hamburger. Morag was also a well-known singing coach giving lessons and master classes at numerous schools and colleges including at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies where she taught at the personal invitation of Peter Pears. She was professor of singing at Trinity College of Music for many years and was awarded an Honorary FTCL in 1985.


Letter from Peter Pears to Morag Noble, 10 September 1978

Peter Pears to Morag Noble, 10 September 1978, MNC 2/3/3 © Britten–Pears Foundation

The archive is a treasure trove of material relating to Morag Noble’s career from the 1950s to the very last years of her life. Amongst the material are reports, certificates, newspaper cuttings, correspondence, photographs, adjudication papers and concert programmes. Of particular interest may be letters to Morag from composer Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987), musicologist Hans Keller (1919-1985) and tenor Peter Pears (1910-1986).

The letter shown here was sent by Pears from New York in 1978 during rehearsals for the Metropolitan Opera’s first staging of Billy Budd. He writes ‘nice to have Ray Leppard conducting – and everyone at the Met. is extremely nice and helpful’ but goes on to complain of the heat and humidity. He was by then 68 and it proved to be his last major operatic appearance.

Further details of the collection can be found on our catalogue here. If you wish to make an appointment to view any of the material please contact us on


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