Dame Janet Baker (Poppea), Robert Ferguson (Nerone), Anne Collins (Arnalta), Katherine Pring (Ottavia), Clifford Grant (Seneca) & John Brecknock (Valletto), Elizabeth Gale (Amore), Shirley Chapman (Virtù), Barbara Walker (Drusilla/Fortuna)
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In November 1971, Dame Janet Baker – a great champion of opera sung in English – performed the title role in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea with Sadler’s Wells Opera at the London Coliseum, conducted by the baroque and classical specialist Raymond Leppard. This was the first time the company had produced the work and, happily, a performance was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
This release of that broadcast has been remastered. Inevitably, the sound quality reflects the fact that it is a 1971 ‘live’ recording, and some deterioration is evident, although this does not detract from the incomparable performance value.
Chandos Opera in English is delighted to be able to allow listeners to experience the artistry of Dame Janet, at the height of her career, on this latest Archive Edition.
Dame Janet Baker is joined by the bass Clifford Grant, tenors Robert Ferguson and John Brecknock, and mezzo-sopranos Anne Collins and Katherine Pring, as well as the Sadler’s Wells Chorus and Orchestra.
This recording is released on CD only.
“Janet Baker's incredibly sophisticated portrayal of Poppea reveals that the work is as much about power as sex...this recording stands as a powerful and attractive monument to those epoch-making clashes between musicality and musicology that kick-started the early music boom to the benefit of all.”
“Leppard's souped-up Monteverdi is richly enjoyable...Baker catches the langour and the selfish ambition of this unpleasant character with subtly varied tone...And the diction! Put down the libretto, listen, and weep for what was.”
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