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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Libretto by Nicola Haym. English translation by Brian Trowell. Edition prepared by Noel Davies and Sir Charles Mackerras


Dame Janet Baker (Julius Caesar), Valerie Masterson (Cleopatra), Della Jones (Sextus), Sarah Walker (Cornelia), James Bowman (Ptolemy), John Tomlinson (Achillas), Christopher Booth-Jones (Curio), David James (Nirenus)

English National Opera Orchestra, English National Opera Chorus, Sir Charles Mackerras

“This opera was a personal triumph for Dame Janet. As Caesar, she arms the voice with an impregnable firmness, outgoing and adventurous.
Valerie Masterson shares the honours with Dame Janet, a Cleopatra whose bright voice gains humanity through ordeal. The tinkle of surface- wear clears delightfully in her later arias, sung with a pure tone and high accomplishment.
As a total production, Julius Caesar was an outstanding achievement in ENO's history.
Strongly cast, it had a noble Cornelia in Sarah Walker, a high-spirited Sesto in Della Jones, and in James Bowman a Ptolemy whose only fault was that his voice lacked meanness of timbre appropriate to the odious character. John Tomlinson's massive bass also commands attention.
Mackerras's conducting is impeccable and the opera is given in clear, creditable English.
(See next review for the video equivalent.)”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“the ravishing accompaniments to the two big Cleopatra arias amply justify the use by the excellent ENO orchestra of modern rather than period instruments...The full, vivid studio sound makes this one of the very finest of the invaluable series of ENO opera recordings in English.” Penguin Guide, 2010

“Even if opera in English translation (or baroque opera on modern instruments) doesn't usually grab you, Charles Mackerras's legendary 1979 remains unmissable, not least for Dame Janet Baker's supremely authoritative Caesar, Sarah Walker's stately Cornelia and John Tomlinson's blustery Achilla.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, August 2014

Building a Library

First Choice (CD) - December 2011

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3019

(CD - 3 discs)

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Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande

Sung in English


Neil Howlett (Golaud), Eilene Hannon (Mélisande), Robert Dean (Pelleas), Sarah Walker (Genevieve), John Tomlinson (Arkel), Rosanne Brackenridge (Yniold) & Sean Rea (Doctor)

English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Mark Elder

This live BBC broadcast of Claude Debussy’s ground-breaking opera Pelléas and Mélisande was recorded at the Coliseum in 1981. The unique performance is now available on CD for the first time, as part of Chandos’ Opera in English historical series, performed by the English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Mark Elder, with the soloists Neil Howlett, Eilene Hannon, and Robert Dean playing out the tragic love triangle.

It is not so much the extremity of emotions in opera that moves us, but their intensity. And intense emotion does not need to be loud, or dramatic. It can be quiet, deep, and profound, as in this operatic masterpiece, based on Maeterlinck’s symbolist drama. With its simple setting of every day words, and slow-burning passion, the opera emerged in the early twentieth century as the very antithesis to the Wagnerian style. In the words of Debussy himself: ‘I imagine a kind of drama quite different from Wagner’s in which music would begin where the words are powerless as an expressive force. Music is made for the inexpressible.’

Debussy purposely avoided elaborate and lyrical language, and wrote in the simplest prose. In fact, most of the characters speak to one another in plain speech, and everything they say is, on the surface, completely transparent. But the waters run deep, and as questions bring about either the wrong reply or no reply at all, the simple language only deepens the obscurity of what is actually being said.

The plot is based on a tragic love triangle. Prince Golaud finds a mysterious young woman, Mélisande, lost in a forest. He marries her and brings her back to the castle of his grandfather, King Arkel of Allemonde. Here Mélisande becomes increasingly attached to Golaud’s half-brother, Pelléas, arousing Golaud’s jealousy. Golaud goes to excessive lengths to find out the truth about the relationship and Pelléas eventually decides to leave the castle, but he arranges to meet Mélisande one last time and the two finally confess their love for each other. Golaud, who has been eavesdropping, rushes out and kills Pelléas. Not long after, having given birth to a daughter, and with Golaud still begging her to tell him ‘the truth’, Mélisande dies.

“an unfussy, lucid rendering of an opera whose vocal lines, so closely wedded to French prosody, present perhaps more of a challenge to translators than any other in the repertoire. The casting shows the depth of ENO 30 years ago, with Eilene Hannan as Mélisande, more knowing, less naive than some portrayals, the baritone Robert Dean a Pelléas with just the right mix of muscularity and lyric grace” The Guardian, 12th January 2012 ***

“Tomlinson giv[es] Arkel the goodness and dignity Debussy asked for...If Pelleas in English appeals, this recording fits the bill, despite the inevitable noises and variable audibility attendant on stage performance.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 ***

“John Tomlinson is a sad, wise Arkel...Neil Howlett is good at the tricky ambivalence that dogs Goldau's every step...[Hannan] modifies her natural ardour into a suitably passionate neutrality...[Dean] traces Pelleas's emotional growth well...Definitely recommended for Anglophone listeners because it's good, for once, to be able to absorb every word” Gramophone Magazine, March 2012

“Elder takes a robust, Wagnerian view of the score...[Hannan] is always characterful, teasing and provocative...[Dean is] good with the words and sounds contrastingly youthful beside Howlett's more mature Golaud...By far the most impressive voices are those of the two basses...Worth encountering primarily for Elder's, and his orchestra's, gripping account of the score.” International Record Review, February 2012

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3177(3)

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Falla: El Amor Brujo, etc.

Falla:

El Amor Brujo

Noches en los jardines de España

La vida breve: Interlude & Dance


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Chandos Classics - CHAN10232X

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Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K626


Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Sarah Walker (mezzo soprano), William Kendall (tenor), David Wilson-Johnson (baritone)

Choir of St John’s College Cambridge, English Chamber Orchestra, George Guest

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Chandos Classics - CHAN10208X

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The Goodall Ring Cycle

The Goodall Ring Cycle


Wagner:

Der Ring des Nibelungen

Sung in English (translation by Andrew Porter)


The Rheingold

Norman Bailey (Wotan), Derek Hammond-Stroud (Alberich), Emile Belcourt (Loge), Katherine Pring (Fricka), Robert Lloyd (Fasolt), Clifford Grant (Fafner), Gregory Dempsey (Mime), Lois McDonnall (Freia), Anne Collins (Erda), Norman Welsby (Donner), Robert Ferguson (Froh), Valerie Masterson (Woglinde), Shelagh Squires (Wellgunde), Helen Attfield (Flosshilde)

The Valkyrie

Norman Bailey (Wotan), Rita Hunter (Brünnhilde), Alberto Remedios (Siegmund), Margaret Curphey (Sieglinde), Clifford Grant (Hunding), Ann Howard (Fricka), Katie Clarke (Gerhilde), Anne Evans (Helmwige), Anne Conoley (Ortlinde), Elisabeth Connell (Waltraute), Sarah Walker (Siegrune), Shelagh Squires (Grimgerde), Anne Collins (Rossweisse), Helen Attfield (Schwertleite)

Siegfried

Alberto Remedios (Siegfried), Rita Hunter (Brünnhilde), Gregory Dempsey (Mime), Norman Bailey (Wanderer), Derek Hammond-Stroud (Alberich), Clifford Grant (Fafner), Anne Collins (Erda), Maurine London (Woodbird), Barry Tuckwell (horn)

Twilight of the Gods

Alberto Remedios (Siegfried), Rita Hunter (Brünnhilde), Aage Haugland (Hagen), Derek Hammond-Stroud (Alberich), Norman Welsby (Gunther), Margaret Curphey (Gutrune), Katherine Pring (Waltraute), Anne Collins (First Norn), Gillian Knight (Second Norn), Anne Evans (Third Norn), Valerie Masterson (Woglinde), Shelagh Squires (Wellgunde), Helen Attfield (Flosshilde)

English National Opera Orchestra, Sadler's Wells Opera Orchestra, Reginald Goodall

recorded between 1975 and 1978


Extra postage costs:
As this set is very heavy (around 2kg) we unfortunately need to charge extra postage on deliveries to addresses outside of the UK.
Prices vary by country - Please contact us for further details.

“The Peter Moores Foundation is to be thanked for sponsoring this marvellous set” Sunday Telegraph

Presto Disc of the Week

30th June 2008

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3065

(CD - 16 discs)

Normally: $155.00

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Baroque Celebration

Baroque Celebration


Gluck:

Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)

Sung in English as 'What is life to me without thee?’

Diana Montague (mezzo)

Handel:

Priva son d'ogni conforto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Grief and woe all hope deny me’

Sarah Walker (mezzo)

Semele: Where'er you walk

Bruce Ford (tenor)

L'angue offeso (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Wounded, the serpent ne’er reposes’

Della Jones (mezzo)

I rage, I melt, I burn…O ruddier than the cherry (from Acis and Galatea)

John Tomlinson (bass)

Lascia ch'io pianga (from Rinaldo)

Sung in English as 'Hear thou my weeping’

Yvonne Kenny (soprano)

Domerò la tua fierezza (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as ‘I shall tame your pride unbending’

James Bowman (countertenor)

Piangerò la sorte mia (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Flow, my tears’

Valerie Masterson (soprano)

Va tacito e nascosto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'How silently, how slyly’

Janet Baker (mezzo)

Frondi tenere e belle ... Ombra mai fù (from Serse)

Sung in English as 'May the Fates be kind...Under thy shade’

Della Jones (mezzo)

Samson: Honour and arms scorn such a foe

John Tomlinson (bass)

Son nata a lagrimar (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as ‘Condemned to grieve and cry’

Sarah Walker, Della Jones (mezzos)

Da tempeste il legno infranto (from Giulio Cesare)

Sung in English as 'Stormy winds my ship had shaken’

Valerie Masterson (soprano)

Purcell:

Fairest Isle (from King Arthur)

I attempt from love's sickness to fly in vain (from The Indian Queen)


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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3078

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Janet Baker sings scenes from Julius Caesar

Janet Baker sings scenes from Julius Caesar


Handel:

Giulio Cesare in Egitto (highlights)

Sung in English (translation by Brian Trowell. Edition prepared by Noel Davies and Sir Charles Mackerras).


Dame Janet Baker (Julius Caesar), Valerie Masterson (Cleopatra), Della Jones (Sextus), Sarah Walker (Cornelia), James Bowman (Ptolemy), John Tomlinson (Achillas), Christopher Booth-Jones (Curio), David James (Nirenus)

English National Opera Orchestra, English National Opera Chorus, Sir Charles Mackerras

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Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3072

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