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Monteverdi: Coronation of Poppea Double CD

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£19.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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While mezzo-soprano Janet Baker was best known for her performances of British music, especially that of her compatriot Benjamin Britten, she was also a fine performer of art song, sacred music, and Classical and pre-Classical opera. Her repertoire, as well as her background frequently, overlapped that of her great predecessor, Kathleen Ferrier; and though her career was mostly centered in ... Read more in Amazon's Janet Baker Store

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Sadler's Wells Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leppard
  • Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
  • Audio CD (1 Jun. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,978 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Sinfonia
2. Virtue, Go Hide Yourself Away
3. Again I'm Drawn Here
4. My Lord, Do Not Go Yet!
5. At Last My Hopes Have Ended
6. Oh, Dishonoured Ottavia!
7. There Stands That Most Ill-fated Lady
8. The Purple Robes of Emperors
9. Did I Please You, My Lord?
10. Though Fate Allows All Others to Drink the Wine
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Solitude, Beloved and Treasured
2. Since Old Seneca's Dead Now
3. You, Who Received Your Rank and Your Honour
4. Since Old Seneca's Dead Now
5. Here I Am, Here Have I Come
6. Oh Happy, Happy Is Drusilla!
7. My Lord, Now You Have Good Reason
8. Think of Her, Think of My Poppea
9. Ah, Ah, My Count
10. To You, to You Poppea, Our Empress
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

Dame Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano - Robert Ferguson, ténor - Anne Collins, mezzo-soprano - Katherine Pring, mezzo-soprano - Clifford Grant, basse - John Brecknock, ténor - Sadler's Wells Orchestra - Raymond Leppard, direction


Janet Baker's incredibly sophisticated portrayal of Poppea reveals that the work is as much about power as sex- a useful counterweight to some more recent interpretations.In historical terms ,this recording stands as a powerful and attractive monument to those epoch-making clashes between musicality and musicology that kick-started the early music boom to the benefit of all. Performance**** Recording**** --BBC Music Magazine,August 2010

Top billing is given to Janet Baker as Poppea but the whole is a superb piece of ensemble work from a vanished age.Baker catches the langour and the selfish ambition of this unpleasant character with subtly varied tone.And the diction!Put down the libretto,listen,and weep for what was. --Gramophone,Sept 2010

There will be a delight at this issue by the Peter Moores Foundation of the BBC recording of Poppea from the Coliseum on november 27th 1971. There are flaws in the sound but no one is likely to be bothered by that when such a performance has been preserved.Raymond Leppard's romanticised orchestration is out of fashion,but it put Monterverdi back on the map and introduced large audiences to this and other masterpieces.Janet Baker is in her prime as Poppea and she is supported by a cast including Robert Ferguson as Nero and Katherine Pring as a noble Ottavis. ***** --Michael Kennedy,Daily Telegraph,04/07/2010

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Joyce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This will not be to everyone's taste. It is sung in an English translation; it is a "live" recording, dating from an ENO production from 1971; it is substantially cut; and, perhaps most controversially of all, it uses Raymond Leppard's "modern" orchestration and allots parts to voices which would not undertake these roles in a modern recording. In the words of Catherine Tate's Lauren: "Am I bovvered?" Well no, actually, even though I would not sacrifice my Gardiner recording, which remains my preferred choice. The English translation is a good one and is enunciated splendidly by virtually all the cast. Diction in those days was clearly more highly prized than it appears to be today and that fine tenor John Brecknock in particular is a model of clarity and pristine diction in the small part of the page. For a live recording made nearly 40 years ago, the sound is pretty good (all credit to Don Draper and the Oriel Music Trust) and stage noises are not too obtrusive, although the antics of Anne Collins as Arnalta elicit some laughter and there is well-deserved applause at the end of each scene. The orchestration will not be to everyone's taste; for some it will seem impossibly "lush," but, rather like Beecham's "Messiah," it does at least give aural pleasure. These days Nero, Ottone and Arnalta are usually cast with a soprano (or mezzo), a counter-tenor and a high character tenor; here they are taken by a tenor, a baritone and a contralto. There are a number of reasons for this, chiefly casting expectations of the time. Robert Ferguson, very much a "tenor for all seasons" at Opera North, is certainly no early music stylist and although he sings and acts decently enough, he is probably the least distinguished of what is on the whole a strong cast.Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. F. Dewey on 2 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Still the best recording of this early masterpiece and the outstanding performance by Janet baker has inspired all the musicians, both players and singers, to give of their best.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Menolearn on 17 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With the cast led by Janet Baker and the proceedings under the baton of Raymond Leppard, who championed this composer, this live recording by the BBC technicians is very welcome.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By m.m.wicks on 18 Oct. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Beautiful singing by Dame Janet Baker and the rest of the cast,particularly loved the final aria and have shared this music with others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Monteverdi's great music drama brought to life for English speakers 30 Mar. 2014
By Phil P. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a live recording of a broadcast performance on November 27, 1971 of Monteverdi’s last opera performed in English, with the great Janet Baker in the role of Poppea. First off, I have to admit that I am not a true connoisseur of “old” music, i.e. music before the 18th century. I am capable of enjoying it, but preferably in small doses. Only recently have I made the acquaintance of this opera through the Harnoncourt recording, which is in the original Italian, all 3 ½ hours worth. Incidentally, the current budget edition to their disgrace does not include a libretto, so I bought a used copy of the original release, which does. No one should come to this opera cold without one. Reading Giovanni Francesco Busenello’s libretto was a pleasure in itself - it’s the most literate opera libretto I’ve ever read. Perhaps that isn’t saying much. But it’s almost better than the music, that’s how good it is. Most of Monteverdi’s music is essentially an elevated form of recitative which actually realizes the Gluck-Wagner ideal of music subordinated to the text. For all its undoubted beauty and expressiveness, I don’t think it would work if the text wasn’t so good, and enjoying it really does require engagement with the words and the drama. That makes it an ideal candidate for performance in the vernacular.

Leppard was a pioneer in the performance of Monteverdi’s operas. In those benighted early days he did something that would today be considered naughty; he transposed the castrato parts of Nero and Ottone down an octave, to be sung by a tenor and a baritone, respectively. I can’t see the harm in this, inasmuch as there is very little ensemble work, and the parts don’t involve the sort of elaborate coloratura that most male singers these days would struggle with. It’s no different I would think from Lieder being sung indifferently by male or female singers. Yet according to the booklet, Leppard was somewhat shamefaced about it. “He was aware of the historical incongruities, but believed that during these early days of establishing Monteverdi in the operatic canon ‘we are not yet preaching to the converted.’ He thought it simply not viable dramatically to cast a woman as Nero: ’One day it might be, but there’s a long way to go.’”

Well, those happy days have arrived; today Neros and Ottones are invariably women or countertenors. The opera has been restored to its proper place as a museum piece. No more preaching to the unconverted; the heathen have been banished from the temple, their impure souls left to wallow in the fleshly delights of Verdi, Wagner and Puccini.

To be fair, Harnoncourt’s is an excellent performance and on the whole, Baker aside, he has better singers. But to listen to the Poppea-Nero scenes sung by two sopranos, even by two such fine singers as Helen Donath and Elisabeth Soderstrom is to mourn the loss of dramatic versimilitude compared to the same scenes sung by Baker and Robert Ferguson, even if the latter is a less than world class tenor.

None of Harnoncourt’s principal singers is a native Italian, which seems to be true with most recordings. They sing expressively to be sure, but hearing it in English took the experience to another level entirely. One example is Ottavia’s famous Act I lament. Addressing rhetorically her faithless husband, she sings, in the English translation provided in Harnoncourt: “where, ah, where are you? In Poppea’s arms, you gaily take your pleasure...” Geoffrey Dunn’s apparently freer singing translation for Leppard goes: “Where art love, where are you? Where else but with Poppea - You are lying with Poppea, oh love her, enjoy her!” Monteverdi reaches a rhetorical climax on the words “felice e godi” and Cathy Berberian for Harnoncourt sings it beautifully, but when Katherine Pring reaches her climax with “Oh love her, enjoy her!” the expression of her bitterness was that much more thrilling.

Enough. The broadcast sound is not hi fi but it’s clean and undistorted, the audience quiet and well behaved. The booklet includes English libretto and synopsis. For Janet Baker fanatics like me, anything with her in it is automatically self-recommending. But seriously, if you’re new to this opera, this would actually be a good first choice. Then if you’re turned on by it, by all means get an “authentic” version. I should also mention that it’s somewhat abridged to a 2 ½ hour length.
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