on 22 June 2003
Colin Davis directs the definitive performance of the Midsummer Marriage. Based on Covent Garden's second production of the Opera (it give the premiere), it is a performance which throughout communicates with huge conviction, intensity and Tippett's strange but compelling modern myth. If you treat the story as a mixture of "the Magic Flute", "The Tempest", "Midsummer Night's Dream", English folk tales and a 1950s domestic drama, you won't be far off. The libretto has its silly moments but they are swept away by the overall conception. Singers, chorus, orchestra and most of all, Sir Colin Davis, leave one with no doubts about the greatness and universality of this work. Having bought the LPs (on Phillips) many years ago, the release by Lyrita on CD was greatly welcome. Highlights are difficult to choose in such a wonderful recording, but try Sosostris' aria in the last Act, Mark's Act I aria and the climax of Act III in the final ritual dance where Mark & Jennifer are mystically transfigured to music of power, not to mention considerable vocal vigour. Outstanding.
on 3 March 2013
It has long been a complete mystery to me why this forty-year old recording of this rich, strange and truly marvellous opera is still the only one - apart from the historic but fairly primitive sounding original live1955 production..A personal wish has long been that the visually stunning 1980's ITV production should be made available - enshrining Philip Langridge's glowing performance as Mark - a part he was surely born to sing! If anyone is reading this out there - any hope of a DVD release?
But never mind, this present CD release of Sir Colin Davis's historic first and so-far only modern recording will do very nicely. It is all superbly sung and produced, with a last scene which leaves one drenched and entranced, caught up in the ecstatic joy of Tippett's inspiration. The recorded sound needs no apology: rich, detailed and vividly atmospheric. Even after 40 years, this charismatic recording would be, as they say, a hard act to follow. Thanks once again to Amazon and Zoverstocks for prompt service and unbeatable value.
on 17 December 2009
This must be the most life affirming joyous work composed in the 1945/1950 period. Criticism is always about the plot, really the plot is fine as a vehicle for this lyrical outpouring. Why this work is not performed in Opera Houses all over the world is a mystery to me. It certainly worked well on the stage when I saw the Covent Garden revival of 2005, I do hope that conductors like Andrew Davis and Mark Elder who know how to perform this music take over the mantle from Colin Davis
This performance is as other reviewers say superlative and I cannot imagine it being bettered
on 14 October 2013
Still the best performance of The Midsummer Marriage for me, and possibly the only performance available on CD (and that a rarity).
Colin Davis and his crew do a wonderful job with this luminous score, bringing out the many orchestral and vocal nuances and negotiating the awkward and difficult passages with comparative ease. If you love Tippett but haven't already got a recording of The Midsummer Marriage, or are interested in exploring this fascinating composer's work in depth, this is the performance for you!
on 13 August 2013
Glad it's available on Mp3. I heard the première in1954 and now can revel in it in my own space and time, just when I want. Excellent. Thank you Mr. technology! Crystal clear performance from ROH et al. of a mystical but youthful, positive and exuberant work that never really seems to have taken hold of the public imagination but can be a rewarding and illuminating experience, for those who persevere. Liking to stick my neck out, as always, I 'give it ten' as they say.