Dove: Tobias and the Angel

This page lists our only recording of Tobias and the Angel, by Jonathan Dove (b.1959) on CD & download (MP3 & FLAC).

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Dove: Tobias and the Angel


Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2010



Catalogue No:

(CHAN 10606)



Release date:

28th June 2010




75 minutes


CD (download also available)

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Dove: Tobias and the Angel

Omar Ebrahim (baritone), Hyacinth Nicholls (mezzo-soprano), Darren Abrahams (tenor), James Laing (counter-tenor), Kevin West (tenor), Maureen Brathwaite (soprano), Karina Lucas (mezzo-soprano) & Rodney Clarke (baritone)

The Young Vic, David Charles Abell


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Born on 18 July 1959, Jonathan Dove is one of Britain’s leading composers of opera, choral works, theatre, film, orchestral, and chamber music. His community opera Tobias and the Angel premiered in 1999 at Christ Church, Highbury Fields in London, was taken up in 2005 by the Young Vic / English Touring Opera during the refurbishment of the Theatre’s regular venue, and was the first opera performed at the newly revamped Young Vic in 2006. The libretto, by David Lan, is based on the Book of Tobit from the biblical Apocrypha. Dove has written more than twenty operatic works on a wide range of subjects and is the most performed contemporary opera composer in the UK.

The colourfully biblical story of Tobit, who is blinded after daring to give a fellow Jew a proper burial, and the ensuing adventures of his son, Tobias, is vividly portrayed. The story particularly appealed to the composer, who said: ‘The tale has a mystical aspect, but also the character of a Jewish folk-tale, especially the scene in which Tobias is threatened by a huge fish, kills it, and is instructed to take out its heart and gall – which turn out to have magical healing properties.’

Although the racial oppression and demonic possession which are part of this work are fully developed, it is undoubtedly one of Dove’s brightest, even serene, scores, possessing immense appeal and communicative power. The nine instruments of the orchestra provide plenty of colour, for example effectively evoking the Jewish elements of a klezmer band, and David Lan’s libretto does a masterly job in telling the story in an almost cinematic way. This is the work’s premiere recording.

Jonathan Dove: Tobias and the Angel

My name is Tobit (Tobit)

The king kills Jews (People in market, Tobit, Anna, Tobias)

Or find out who is playing that tune? (Tobias, People in market, Raphael, Raguel, Edna)

Time to get up! (Sparrows, Tobit, Tobias, Sara, Edna, Raguel)

What a delightful night, what a restful night (Ashmodeus, Raguel, Raguel's men, Edna, Anna, Tobias, Tobit, Sara)

Without his eyes how can he work? (Anna, Tobias, Tobit, Raphael)

What do you hear? (Raphael, Tobias, Sara, Tobit)

How hard is wood but slow is good (Trees, Tobias, Raphael, Sara, Tobit)

Not even the mountains? (Raphael, Tobias, The Mountain, Sara, Ashmodeus, Anna, Tobit)

Descending a mountain there are many things to listen to (Raphael, Tobias, The River, The Fish)

What did the fish sing? (Raphael, Tobias)

Master's house has an iron gate (Raguel's men, Tobias, Raphael)

So this is Ecbatane (Tobias, Edna, Raguel)

You're welcome. Here's cheese (Sara, Tobias, Raphael, Raguel, Edna)

Hurrah! (Guests, Tobias, Sara, Raphael, Ashmodeus, Raguel's men, Raguel, Edna)

Husband, come in (Sara, Tobias, Ashmodeus, Raphael, Guests, Raguel's men, Edna, Raguel)

Time to get up! (Sparrows, Tobias, Raguel, Edna, Guests, Ashmodeus, Sara, Raphael, The Trees, Anna, Tobit)

Ah! (Tobit, Angels, Tobias, Sara, Raphael)

Turn to Him with your ears (Chorus, Ashmodeus, Tobit, Raphael)

International Record Review

July/August 2010

“...there's a wealth of invention and imagination here which gives it a value beyond the walls of a theatre, church or any other performing space...Darren Abrahams perfectly captures the early naïveté of Tobias...and his evolution into a calm and poised husband, while countertenor James Laing exudes serenity as the accompanying angel.”

Gramophone Magazine

September 2010

“The solo roles are expertly cast and sung, with magnificent support from the children's and adult choruses...As a purely aural experience this is a deeply satisfying production. Everyone involved sounds as though they are having the time of their lives. An outstanding release.”

The Times

31st July 2010


“Darren Abrahams’s youthful tenor is well suited to Tobias, hero of this apocryphal biblical yarn about listening to your heart. And Dove’s attractive score (like John Adams sprinkled with Britten, plus a little Jewish folk music) bounces brightly out of the speakers.”

BBC Music Magazine

September 2010


“...the vocal style is in Dove's recognisable voice and listener-friendly mode...fluent and memorably lyrical. As a musical dramatist, one of Dove's strengths is that he knows when to let the music take the back seat and allow us to concentrate on the words and action.”

Michael Quinn

25th August 2010

“...this Chandos release bristles with a fresh, zesty vitality that is wholly becoming. Performances throughout are exemplary: the Tobias of Darren Abrahams adroitly pitched between innocence and juvenile brio, countertenor James Laing’s Raphael potently serene and full of otherworldly nuance...A delight from start to finish.”

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