For so many decades, Rutland Boughton's operatic works have lain neglected, save for 'The Immortal Hour', and at last we can make an objective judgement about one of his strongest scores, thanks to Mike Dutton and the superb team he assembled to bring us the first recording of 'The Queen of Cornwall'. The libretto, a mixture of Thomas Hardy's play of the same name and some of his poems, does sound a little quaint at this distance in time (but no worse than William Lloyd's libretti for the operas of his son, George). However, for this listener at least, the power of Boughton's music conquers all and leads one to forgive the literary shortcomings. The cast is perfect, with Heather Shipp an imperious and passionate Iseult the Fair and Joan Rogers her formidable rival for the love of the fickle, selfish Tristram, sung with sensitivity by Jacques Imbrailo (his gentle ballad at the end of Act One being especially touching). Lovers of Wagner's 'Tristan' need fear no pale imitation, as Boughton's work is of a very different nature. King Mark here is no sorrowful, noble cuckold, but a boorish bully (Boughton's Communist sympathies made the Arthurian kings and knights a pretty dislikable lot on the whole), and this is underlined by Neil Davies in his excellent portrayal. Ronald Corp welds the whole thing together skilfully and achieves a great sweep to the drama, with the New London Chorus and Orchestra responding to Boughton's effective writing with understanding and commitment. This is a major discovery and one that prompts a huge vote of thanks to all concerned. Unreservedly recommended.