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Purcell — Dido & Aeneas

Alpha, 2008 CD

Soloists:

Simone Kermes, soprano
Dimitris Tillakos, baritone
Deborah York, soprano

With that of Orpheus, the myth of Dido has no doubt been one of the most prolific in epics, drama and, as from the 17th century, in musical theatre. Teodor Currentzis took hold of this musical monument to offer us a version where, for once, drama prevails.

Resulting from a triple, English, French and Italian influence, Dido and Aeneas reminds us of John Blow’s mask as well as of Charpentier’s short scenic works that its royal commissioner had seen during his exile in France. The plurality of registers is as much a legacy from Shakespearian theatre as from Venetian musical drama, whereas certain autonomous forms, such as the final lamento, are spurred by the typical descending tetrachord hailing from Venetian opera, Cavalli in particular, whose Erismena Purcell probably saw on stage in London in 1674 : umpteenth example of the cross-mix of cultures and literary and musical aesthetics that makes of Dido and Aeneas not so much a universal work of art as a true European opera.

Classics Today, Robert Levine

“The individual parts fascinate, even when they are specifically perverse. The singing lilts and pleases the ear. The orchestral textures are spotless and transparent. It’s hard not to listen more than once, just for the sheer entertainment value.”

The Guardian, Tim Ashley

“Currentzis reminds us that this is, first and foremost, an opera about desire, and offers us something at once sexier and more probingly tragic.”

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Mahler — Symphony No. 6

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