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.

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.

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. 


a_probst said...

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---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.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

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

Hrothgar said...

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!

Bruce Charlton said...

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.