Monday, 8 October 2018

Dido's Lament by Purcell


This is the first - perhaps only? - first-rank classical opera aria written by an English composer; here sung with a gorgeously liquid mezzo tone by Tatiana Troyanos, and accompanied to perfection by the great Charles Mackerras.

Recitative
Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.


Aria
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.


From Dido and Aeneas (1983-8) - Music by Henry Purcell, words by Nahum Tate. 

4 comments:

  1. "Video unavailable
    This video contains content from UMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

    ---But that's all right, I can take your word for it because I remember hearing and seeing Troyanos in televised Metropolitan Opera performances in the '80s. I thought she would be retired now and about 80 years old; I had no idea she had died 25 years ago, keeping most of her singing engagements till the end.

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  2. Appropriate to have someone named Troyanos in an opera about Aeneas!

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  3. Well, this happens to be one of my wife's favourite arias, so I played this version for her. She wasn't especially impressed and thought her voice was a little too heavy, thick, and vibrato-filled, especially for this song. She did concede, though, that it was better than Maria Callas (who she rather dislikes) would probably have made of it. I gather from this that she prefers it performed in a lighter, more "period" style!

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  4. My LP version had Janet Baker, who was very highly rated in this role. But I prefer this Troyanos 'Bel Canto' style version - she is continuously-producing the stream of sound, indicating consonants but without breaking the flow. By contrast, most English-tradition singers (like Dame Janet) strive for clarity of articulation and clear diction; to bring-out Purcell's unsurpassed word-setting. It's a matter of preference; but I nearly always prefer beautiful singing tone over other kinds of virtue. Also Mackerras is wonderfully lyrical and voice-supporting in his accompaniment - compared with the dry, raspy, short-phrased style of too many 'original instrument' recordings.

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