Britten and Auden: Inventive Days, inebriated nights at 7 Middagh Street, Brooklyn

In 1936, Britten and Auden established a friendship and creative partnership whilst working at the GPO film unit in Blackheath, London, producing iconic films such as “Night Mail.” With war looming, Auden – a pacifist – left for America to be shortly followed by Britten and Peter Pears in 1939. 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights was to become their home and an extraordinary melting part of creativity. Gypsy Rose Lee, Carson McCullers, George Davis, Chester Kallman were fellow lodgers and regular visitors included Thomas Mann, Aaron Copland, Lotte Lenya, Kurt Weill, Virgil Thomson, Marc Blitzstein and Leonard Bernstein. When Salvador Dali met Auden at one of the infamous house parties he famously asked him “Do you speak English?”