LAMPE LIGHTS A VERITABLE BLAZE UNDER SHAKESPEARE AND THE RESULT IS CHARMINGLY HUMOROUS!!!!
Very little is known of the early life of John Frederick Lampe,other than that he was born in 1702 and came from Saxony. Lampe's career as a composer was owed largely to his friendship with the poet and musician Henry Carey. In fact Carey wrote a quatrain in his honor in 1726:'Call not my LAMP obscure, because unknown, He shines in secret (now) to Friends alone;Light him but up! let him in publick blaze, He will delight not only but amaze'.
'The story of Pyramus and Thisbe comes from Book IV of Ovid's 'Metamorphoses',and was familiar to readers thruout Europe from Classical times. Lampe's version of Pyramus and Thisbe is a reworking of the play acted by the 'rude mechanicals'in Act V of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the satire turned from playwrights and actors to Italian opera and opera singers. Lampe himself leaves out the rehearsal that occurs prior to the performance. The onstage audience is changed from the Athenian court to 2 unnamed gentlemen. The silly comments they make thruout the performance are largely drawn from Shakespeare.
I would like to make mention of the two excellent leads namely Mark Padmore and Susan Bisatt whose voices are so well suited to this little opera! Bisatt sings in a light lilting manner with just a touch of pathos at the appropriate times and has lovely high notes. I own many of Padmores'CDs and I think he is one of the finest tenors to come along from England. His voice can take on any quality and is certainly convincing in the death scene in this opera. He does it ultra-dramatically but it remains humorous to the end!
The recording actually begins with Lampe's only surviving independent orchestral work,the G major concerto for flute, strings and continuo. It has been included to represent the sort of orchestral music that was routinely played in the London theatres before plays began and as interval music.
The disc is accompanied by an informative booklet in German, French and English; the text is included in English.