Up to 40% off Chandos

Janice Watson

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.

Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss

Vaughan Williams: The Poisoned Kiss

(complete opera)

Janice Watson, James Gilchrist, Roderick Williams, John Graham-Hall, Richard Stuart, Mark Richardson, Gail Pearson, Helen Williams, Neal Davies, Anne Collins

Adrian Partington Singers, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHSA5020

(SACD - 2 discs)

Normally: $29.50

Special: $25.07

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Sullivan, A: Ivanhoe

Sullivan, A: Ivanhoe

Janice Watson (Lady Rowena), Geraldine McGreevy (Rebecca), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Ulrica), Toby Spence (Wilfred, Knight of Ivanhoe), Peter Wedd (Maurice de Bracy), Andrew Staples (Locksley/The Squire), Peter Rose (Cedric the Saxon), James Rutherford (Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert), Neal Davies (Richard Cœur-de-Lion), Matthew Brook (Friar Tuck), Stephen Gadd (Prince John) & Leigh Melrose (Isaac, the Jew of York)

Adrian Partington Singers & BBC National Orchestra of Wales, David Lloyd-Jones

‘It will be an historical work, and it is the dream of my life. I do not believe in operas based on gods and myths. What we want are plots which give rise to characters of flesh and blood, with human emotions and human passions. Music should speak to the heart and not to the head…’ Sullivan back in 1885 with his ideas for Ivanhoe.

Ivanhoe, perhaps Sir Walter Scott’s most popular novel, was the perfect choice for historical opera and launched D’Oyly Carte’s ambitious English Royal Opera (now home to the Palace Theatre), where this romantic opera of three hours – ran with a double cast in one of London’s largest and most expensive theatre, on consecutive nights, for 155 performances, one of the most extraordinary runs ever achieved by any opera. In 1891, anyone in London wishing to experience some music would have had a remarkable choice. Ivanhoe was playing at the Royal English Opera, The Gondoliers was still drawing the crowds at the Savoy, and there was a performance of The Golden Legend at Covent Garden. It is hard to think of another musical personality in the history of British music, other than Handel, who had dominated London in this way

The sheer breath and variety of Scott’s invention in Ivanhoe is astonishing, and it is one of the most significant operatic works to have originated in Britain. It was written when Sullivan was at the height of his powers, with his typical fluency in word-setting and mastery of orchestration, and it breathes his natural empathy and humanity. Sullivan’s career was, by any standards, an extraordinary one, and this was its zenith.

This is the first professional commercial recording of Ivanhoe and features a cast, including Janice Watson, Toby Spence, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Geraldine McGreevy. Conductor David Lloyd-Jones who has previously conducted Sullivan works makes his debut with Chandos. The work is dedicated to Richard Hickox who was instrumental in making this recording.

“Sullivan’s tuneful score makes for pleasant listening in this recording, planned for the late Richard Hickox, but stylishly conducted by David Lloyd-Jones. A fine British cast is headed by Toby Spence and Geraldine McGreevy, with James Rutherford as the lustful baddie.” Sunday Times, 14th February 2010 ***

“Here at last is a recording...that makes the best possible case for the opera. David Lloyd-Jones conducts with an ideal balance of swagger and lyricism...Anyone who enjoys the serious side of Sullivan, as in The Yeomen of the Guard, will find much to enjoy here” The Observer, 21st February 2010

“That this first fully professional recording so clearly outclasses two previous semi-professional efforts is due above all to David-Lloyd-Jones's dramatic pacing… The three key roles are well cast. Toby Spence admirably balances heroic and lyrical demands... James Rutherford as Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert and Geraldine McGreevy as Rebecca combine to bring the most out of Act 2, Scene 3 - the opera's musical high point.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2010

“Toby Spence is an impeccable Ivanhoe opposite Janice Watson's aristocratic, if effortful Rowena. But it's Geraldine McGreevy and James Rutherford, astonishing as Rebecca and Brian, who will really sweep you away.” The Guardian, 11th March 2010

“We can at last hear what Sullivan conceived - and it's impressive...It deserves the first-rate performance it receives from David Lloyd Jones, a worthy stand-in for Hickox, working with an excellent cast.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2010 *****

“From the lively pomp of the jousting scene, with its brilliant double chorus, to moments of exquisite tenderness and passion, to thrilling battles and powerful drama, this recording makes a compelling case for a monumental work that deserves a modern audience.” Graham Rogers, bbc.co.uk, 9th February 2010

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - April 2010

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10578(3)

(CD - 3 discs)

Normally: $28.00

Special: $23.80

(also available to download from $30.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Verdi: Don Carlos

Verdi: Don Carlos


Don Carlo

Sung in English (translation by Andrew Porter). Four-act version.

Julian Gavin (Don Carlos), Janice Watson (Elisabeth), Alastair Miles (Philip II), William Dazeley (Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa), Jane Dutton (Eboli), Sir John Tomlinson (Grand Inquisitor), Julia Sporsén (Thibault), Clive Bayley (Old Monk)

Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, Richard Farnes

3 CDs for the price of 2

Based on Schiller’s play, Verdi’s magnificent and arguably greatest opera, Don Carlos, has everything – intense personal passion and pain enmeshed in the web of political and religious agendas – utterly relevant to today and superbly expressed in a score of gripping intensity.

This recording was made in Leeds Town Hall between Opera North’s May/June 2009 production and is the first recording of the work in English. Conducted by Richard Farnes, the performances knocked everyone who witnessed them sideways.

The Observer thought ‘The work came alive as never before, its passionate exchanges between king, son, stepmother and loyal friend all the more incandescent, an endorsement for the Peter Moores Foundation “Opera in English” series on Chandos, who record this Don Carlos for future release.’ York Press wrote ‘This is a drama torrid enough to satisfy the senses on many levels,’ whilst The Spectator declared Richard Farnes, ‘the best Verdian of our time.’

Tenor Julian Gavin takes the title role, and is ably assisted by William Dazeley as Rodrigo, Janice Watson as Elizabeth, Alistair Miles as Philip II and Sir John Tomlinson as the Grand Inquisitor.

“Best of the principals are Alastair Miles's distinctive King Philip; John Tomlinson's terrifying Grand Inquisitor and Clive Bayley's Monk. Opera North's choral and orchestral forces are both splendid, and conductor Richard Farnes proves a superb interpreter of the score.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 ****

“...a well integrated, cleanly delineated performance...The outstanding element is Richard Farnes's forceful and vivid conducting of a finely responsive orchestra.” The Telegraph, 2nd December 2009 ****

“Richard Farnes's outstanding conducting exudes confidence and regularly catches the ear with its theatrical flair and sense of over-arching power” The Guardian, 15th January 2010 ***

“It’s a pleasure to hear so many of the words, particularly from Julian Gavin’s plangent-toned Infante, William Dazeley’s ardent, lyrical Posa and John Tomlinson’s terrifying, gnarly-voiced Inquisitor... yet the best reason for acquiring the set is Richard Farnes’s superb conducting.” Sunday Times, 17th January 2010 ***

“Under Richard Farnes, the orchestral playing will stand comparison with the acknowledged best...The style also impresses as bearing the imprint of a genuine Verdi conductor, with playing where, at times, one feels as though the instruments are contributing their own apt dialogue to the drama.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2010

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3162(3)

(CD - 3 discs)

Normally: $18.50

Special: $15.72

(also available to download from $30.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Britten: Owen Wingrave

Britten: Owen Wingrave

Peter Coleman-Wright (Owen Wingrave), Robin Leggate (General Sir Philip Wingrave/Narrator), Elizabeth Connell (Miss Wingrave), Janice Watson (Mrs. Coyle), Sarah Fox (Mrs. Julien), Alan Opie (Spencer Coyle), Pamela Helen Stephen (Kate) & James Gilchrist (Lechmere)

City of London Sinfonia & Tiffin Boys Choir, Richard Hickox

Following the success of his recent performance of the opera at London’s Cadagon Hall, the seasoned Britten performer Richard Hickox has committed the composer’s rarely recorded Owen Wingrave to disc. Only one rival CD recording is available at present. Commissioned by BBC television in 1966, the work is something of a Cinderella among Britten’s operas, despite its imaginative, closely knit score. One possible reason is that it was composed for television rather than the theatre. Like its 1954 predecessor, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave is based on a ghost story by Henry James. Britten read the story while he was working on The Turn of the Screw, and even then conceived the idea of setting it as an opera. The music employs the relatively spare textures that Britten adopted in his later years.

“Richard Hickox's command of the score...banishes once and for all the idea that the work was a mere appendix to the composer's operatic career: its pacifist theme was a central one to Britten's creative being, and he invested the opera with all the musical richness and textural originality of an unrivalled master of the medium, best expressed here in the playing of the City of London Sinfonia, which is wonderfully alive.” The Telegraph, 14th June 2008

“This excellent recording by Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia conjures shimmering life into oft-ignored episodes of brilliant musical characterisation. The stand-out in a first-class cast is James Gilchrist's Lechmere, full of eager innocence, loyalty and vim.” The Times, 14th June 2008 ****

“Hickox and his cast make the strongest possible case for the opera: Peter Coleman-Wright’s eloquent, idealistic Owen might seem mature casting, but there are fine cameos from Alan Opie (Owen’s tutor), Robin Leggate (the General) and James Gilchrist (Lechmere). Pamela Helen Stephen’s Kate is not as bitchy as Janet Baker’s, Elizabeth Connell’s Miss Wingrave not quite as formidable as Sylvia Fisher’s strident, domineering portrait, but both sing well.” Sunday Times, 8th June 2008

“Hickox's excellent cast boasts some supreme exponents. Hickox draws haunting colours and chordings from his City of London Sinfonia, and the recording is flawlessly presented.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2008 ****

“The new set… becomes the first recording in any medium to do the work full musical and dramatic justice. It should also satisfy the curiosity of those who wonder why its devotees hail Wingrave as Britten's greatest completed opera.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2008

“After experimenting with smaller-scale forms of musical theatre throughout the 1960s, Britten returned to 'grand' opera in Owen Wingrave, based on Henry James's pacifist debate about following the flag or one's conscience. Premiered as a TV commission, Wingrave enjoyed unmerited Cinderella status among Britten's stage works until the recent TV film conducted by Kent Nagano (with Gerald Finley in the title- role – see below) and an innovative stage production by Tim Hopkins at Covent Garden's Linbury Studio in 2007.
Over the years Richard Hickox has used his studio skills to telling effect in the vocal works of Britten. In this new recording following concert performances, Peter Coleman-Wright is most adept at conveying Owen's pain and troubled conscience, the while never giving way to an over-emotionalism untrue to anyone brought up in a soldier's family. Alan Opie, in what is in many ways the beau role of the military tutor Spencer Coyle, achieves both a superb neutrality and an evident empathy with Owen's decision to quit the military life. Robin Leggate avoids caricature (or simple Peter Pears homage) in the small but essential role of the family termagant, General Sir Philip Wingrave. The women are no less characterful, with an especially sympathetic reading of Coyle's wife from Janice Watson.
Throughout Wingrave, Britten's cunning reworking of rhythmic structures and harmonic devices pioneered as early as Peter Grimes reaches a new level of plasticity and sophistication.
The shimmer of orchestral sound – sometimes impressionistic, sometimes Gamelaninfluenced, sometimes wholly percussive – is a still insufficiently appreciated wonder of 1970s operatic writing. The core duets of Coyle/Wingrave, Wingrave/Lechmere and Wingrave/Kate (in which she sets the reluctant soldier the challenge of spending a night alone in the haunted room) are anchored on a sophisticated version of the tonal atonal structures on which Britten had once based The Turn of the Screw. It lends the drama an amazing tensile strength, closely parallel to the Berg operas which Britten wanted to get to know better in the 1930s but was discouraged by his teachers from approaching too closely.
The new set, in Chandos's customary natural comfortable sound, becomes the first recording in any medium to do the work full musical and dramatic justice. It should also satisfy the curiosity of those who wonder why its devotees hail Wingrave as Britten's greatest completed opera.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“this recording advances as a good a case for the opera as anyone could reasonably expect. The cast, headed by Peter Coleman-Wright as the haunted, compromised Owen Wingrave, is strong, and the gallery of English eccentrics/grotesques that make up the extended Wingrave family is vividly depicted.” The Guardian, 6th June 2008 ***

“First-rate atmospheric sound, apt in a ghost story” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

GGramophone Awards 2009

Finalist - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2008

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN10473(2)

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $29.50

Special: $25.07

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Mozart: Così fan tutte, K588

Mozart: Così fan tutte, K588

Sung in English (translation by Marmaduke Browne, adapted by John Cox)

Janice Watson (Fiordiligi), Diana Montague (Dorabella), Lesley Garrett (Despina), Toby Spence (Ferrando), Christopher Maltman (Guglielmo), Sir Thomas Allen (Don Alfonso), David Watkin (cello), John Cohen (cello) & Ronald Schneider (fortepiano)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Sir Charles Mackerras

Così fan tutte is Mozart’s third opera to a Da Ponte libretto. It is in opera buffa style and has only six characters, two couples and an elderly philosopher and a trusted maid. In this recording Lesley Garrett sings the part of the maid, Despina, and the celebrated veteran Sir Thomas Allen the philosopher, Don Alfonso. Despite the somewhat cynical storyline this opera contains some of Mozart’s most memorable and sublime music.

The conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras, has spent many years researching performance practice of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is a noted authority on Mozart’s operas. He writes of this recording, ‘it is indeed a

pleasure having the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment lending its expertise in tonal colour, phrasing and rhythmic impulse to Mozart’s wonderful score… I have chosen to record this English version of Così fan tutte with

the traditional cuts, thus making it closer to a staged performance’. The English translation, by the Rev. Browne, was first used in London at a performance conducted by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in 1890.

“M is for Mozart, Mackerras and magic. The Australian conductor - surely the world’s most illuminating and rewarding Mozartian - conjures sounds of mercurial brilliance and heart-stopping beauty from the OAE and his all-British cast in this vernacular version of Mozart’s most enigmatic comedy.” Sunday Times, 4th May 2008 ****

“Charles Mackerras, always a rewarding Mozart conductor, directs a taut, urgent account of the opera. Recitatives tumble inevitably into arias. Yet, despite his penchant for mobile tempos, Mackerras is fully alive to Così 's uniquely voluptuous, nostalgic tinta. Crucially in an opera of ensembles, the cast works well as a close-knit team, whether in the concerted numbers or in the recitatives, taken at a natural, conversational pace.” The Telegraph, 3rd May 2008

“This recording lacks an underlying dramatic conviction, despite punchy playing from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Mackerras. It's a shame, because Toby Spence, Christopher Maltman, Janice Watson and Diana Montague are nicely matched fair-weather lovers. But the direction seems moot. Lesley Garrett's devilsome maid Despina hams too much to the absent crowd, tonally rather too music-hall for the rest of the recording.” The Times, 12th April 2008 ***

“This is an account of Così which seems to put momentum first. The opening chord, more ferocious than one would expect, gives way to a rattling overture, and tension and pace never let up.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 ***

“…the pacing, ebb and flow of the music is near-perfect. In particular, the OAE's woodwind are on ravishing form. Sir Thomas Allen is, a renowned Don Alfonso of authority and warmth… Toby Spence delivers some of the best Mozart tenor-singing I have heard in a long time.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2008

“Sir Peter Moores comments that the phrase 'Così fan tutte' is 'almost impossible to translate' into English. Thus it is that the delivery of Ferrando and Guglielmo's pronouncement, under the cynical tutorship of Don Alfonso, is one of the few lines that have not been translated in this volume of the Opera in English series (Alfonso's exclamation 'Misericordia!' is the other one left intact, and rightly so). Sometimes opera in English sounds too close to Gilbert and Sullivan at their cheesiest, but in a sparkling comedy such as Così fan tutte that is not necessarily a bad thing: in fact this is tremendously enjoyable because it allows Anglophones to concentrate on exactly what the characters are saying. So if Opera in English brings a wider audience closer to the heart of Mozart's and da Ponte's masterpiece, then it can only be a wonderful thing.
Of course, it helps that the music has seldom sounded as glorious as it does in the hands of Sir Charles Mackerras and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Both are consummate Mozartians, and the pacing, ebb and flow of the music is near-perfect. In particular, the OAE's woodwind are on ravishing form. In terms of stylishness, orchestral sound and the sentimen- tal strength of the playing, this Così is on a par with the finest period-instrument versions (Östman and Gardiner), and arguably has more heart than the OAE's previous recording under Sir Simon Rattle (EMI). The three ladies are animated (but not consistently pleasing on the ear), so the three men steal the show vocally: Sir Thomas Allen is, of course, a renowned Don Alfonso of authority and warmth, Christopher Maltman is a suave Guglielmo, and Toby Spence delivers some of the best Mozart tenorsinging in a long time. Although he falls short in softer music, he brings ringing clarity and declamatory emotion to “Tradito! Schernito!” (here “Her ter-reason is poison”).”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Mackerras's sparkling account of this delightful opera comes over surprisingly well in English, for the change of language does not impair the vocal lines...Vocally, Toby Spence, as an attractively ardent Ferrando, is the star of the show, and Christopher Maltman partners him well as Guglielmo.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3152

(CD - 3 discs)

Normally: $18.50

Special: $15.72

(also available to download from $30.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Haydn - The Complete Mass Edition

Haydn - The Complete Mass Edition


Mass, Hob. XXII: 4 in E flat major 'Große Orgelmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 8 in C major - Missa Cellensis 'Mariazellermesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII:10 in B flat major 'Heiligmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 6 in G major 'Nicolaimesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII:12 in B flat major 'Theresienmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 7 in B flat major 'Kleine Orgelmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII:11 in D minor 'Nelsonmesse'

Ave Regina (Hob. XXIIIb:3)

Mass, Hob. XXII: 1 in F major 'Missa brevis'

Te Deum, Hob. XXIIIc:1

Mass, Hob. XXII: 9 in C major 'Paukenmesse'

Incidental music to Alfred, König der Angelsachsen, oder der patriotische König, Hob.XXX:5

Te Deum, Hob. XXIIIc:2 'Grosses Te Deum'

Mass, Hob. XXII:14 in B flat major 'Harmoniemesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII:13 in B flat major 'Schöpfungmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 3 in G major 'Missa rorate coeli desuper'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 5 in C major 'Cäcilienmesse'

Mass, Hob. XXII: 2 'Missa sunt bona mixta malis'

Schöpfungsmesse - alternative Gloria for Marie Therese

Te Deum, Hob. XXIIIc:1

Mass, Hob. XXII: 7 in B flat major 'Kleine Orgelmesse'

Janice Watson, Susan Gritton, Nancy Agenta, Lorna Anderson, Pamela Helen Stephen, Catherine Denley, Louise Winter, Mark Padmore & Stephen Varcoe

Collegium Musicum 90, Richard Hickox

Period instrument performances

Presto Disc of the Week

1st December 2008

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2007

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Chaconne - CHAN07348

(CD - 8 discs)

Normally: $42.00

Special: $33.60

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Howells: Missa Sabrinensis & Stabat Mater

Howells: Missa Sabrinensis & Stabat Mater


Missa Sabrinensis

Janice Watson (soprano), Della Jones (contralto), Martyn Hill (tenor), Donald Maxwell (baritone)

Stabat Mater

Neill Archer (tenor)

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos 241 - CHAN241-27

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.00

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Great Operatic Arias 16 - Sir Thomas Allen Volume 1

Great Operatic Arias 16 - Sir Thomas Allen Volume 1

Sung in English


L’orage s’est calmé (from Les pêcheurs de perles)

Sung in English as 'The storm has died away'


Look! Through the port comes the moonshine astray (from Billy Budd)


Avant de quitter ces lieux (from Faust)

Sung in English as ‘Even bravest heart may swell’


Mein Sehnen (from Die tote Stadt)

Sung in English as 'In visions, illusions'


The Merry Widow: Hello, here's a soldier bold

Janice Watson (Hanna)


Hai gia vinta la causa! (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Sung in English as ‘ “You’ve won the case already”?...Must I be made to suffer?'

Rodgers, R:

I wonder what he'll think of me! (from Carousel)


Largo al factotum (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)

Sung in English as ‘I am the barber everyone wants, I am!’

Strauss, J, II:

Dieser Anstand, so manierlich (from Die Fledermaus)

Sung in English as 'Though I'm somewhat out of practice'

Janice Watson (Rosalinde)


Ya vas lyublyu 'Yeletsky’s aria' (from Pique Dame)

Sung in English as ‘You seem unhappy, my beloved’

Thomas, Ambroise:

O vin, dissipe la tristesse (from Hamlet)

Sung in English as ‘Oh wine, deliver me from sadness’


Sacra la scelta è d'un consorte (from Luisa Miller)

Sung in English as 'Stop! You shall listen...Marriage is sacred’

Brindley Sherratt (Wurm)


Wie Todesahnung...O du, mein holder Abendstern (from Tannhäuser)

Sung in English as ‘With dark foreboding'

Blick ich umher in diesem edlen Kreise (from Tannhäuser)

Sung in English as 'Turning my gaze upon this proud assembly’

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Opera in English - Great Operatic Arias - CHAN3118


Normally: $10.25

Special: $8.71

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Janacek: Jenufa, Her Step-Daughter

Janacek: Jenufa, Her Step-Daughter



Sung in English (translation by Edward Downes and Otakar Kraus). Brno version.

Janice Watson (Jenufa), Josephine Barstow (Kostelnicka), Nigel Robson (Laca Klemen), Peter Wedd (Števa Buryja), Elizabeth Vaughan (Grandmother Buryjovka), Neal Davies (Foreman)

Welsh National Opera, Sir Charles Mackerras

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2004

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Opera in English - CHAN3106

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $19.75

Special: $15.80

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes

Philip Langridge (Peter Grimes), Janice Watson (Ellen Orford), Alan Opie (Balstrode), Ameral Gunson (Auntie), John Graham-Hall (Bob Boles), John Connell (Swallow), Anne Collins (Mrs Sedley), Roderick Williams (Ned Keene), John Fryatt (Rector), Matthew Best (Hobson), Yvonne Barclay (First Niece), Pamela Helen Stephen (Second Niece)

London Symphony Chorus, Opera London. City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

“Any reading that so potently confirms the genius of this piece must have a distinguished place in the discography. In the first place there's Langridge's tense, sinewy, sensitive Grimes. Predictably he rises to the challenge of the Mad Scene; this is a man hugely to be pitied, yet there's a touch of resignation, of finding some sort of peace at last, after all the agony of the soul. His portrayal is tense and immediate, and a match for that of Pears in personal identification – listen to the eager touch at 'We strained in the wind'. The next composite heroes are the members of the chorus. Electrifying as their rivals are, the LSO singers, trained by Stephen Westrop, seem just that much more arresting, not least in the hue-and-cry of Act 3, quite terrifying in its immediacy as recorded by Chandos.
Hickox's interpretation has little to fear from the distinguished competition. Many details are placed with special care, particularly in the Interludes and the parodistic dances in Act 3, and whole episodes, such as the Grimes- Balstrode dispute in Act 1, have seldom sounded so dramatic. Once or twice one would have liked a firmer forward movement, as in the fifth Interlude, but the sense of total music-theatre is present throughout.
Of the other soloists, the one comparative disappointment is Janice Watson's Ellen Orford. She sings the part with tone as lovely as any of her rivals on disc and with carefully wrought phrasing, but doesn't have the experience to stand out from the village regulars.
Britten's set remains hors concours, but that recording stretches over three CDs.
Hickox is the finest of the modern recordings: as sound it's quite spectacular, vast in range, with well-managed perspectives and just enough hints of stage action to be convincing.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The rhythmic spring which Hickox gives this colourful score harks back to the composer's classic set...The casting of Philip Langridge in the title-role is central to the set's success. As on stage, he is unrivalled at conveying the character's moutning hysteria, and the result is chilling. Janice Watson makes a most touching Ellen Orford” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHAN9447

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $29.50

Special: $25.07

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)


1 2

 Next >>

Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.