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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 January 2013
This 1977 recording has been overshadowed by the later Leppard version starring the voluptuously voiced Jessye Norman, yet Tatiana Troyanos's second Dido here is almost as richly sung and has the advantage of more spirited, "sprung" direction than Mackerras gave Troyanos in 1968, as much as I like that earlier recording, which was ahead of its time musicologically. Another bonus is Felicity Palmer as Belinda whose tangy mezzo bids fair to upstage her mistress. As such, she is not as apt as a maidservant but I have always so much enjoyed her voice that I count her presence as a blessing. The supporting cast reads like a who's who of the best in British female singers from the 70's with names like Patricia Kern as a strong Sorceress and Elizabeth Gale and Alfreda Hodgson as Second Woman and First Witch/Spirit respectively -though the latter is hardly eerie as the Spirit, simply imposing.

Baritonal tenor Richard Stilwell is not as glamorous Thomas Allen nor as plangent as Barry McDaniel but he has a beautiful, expressive voice. Philip Langridge sings neatly but rather boringly as the Sailor.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to versions of this brief masterpiece yet no individual recording is perfect and there must still be room on the shelves for Janet Baker's first Dido, Jessye Norman and either of the Troyanos's Queens, for her distinctive, flickering mezzo-soprano. On balance, I'd take this - but only just - over the Mackerras as Troyanos is more animated here.
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