Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Henry Purcell's short opera Dido and Aeneas, concise and seemingly perfect in its proportions, has the kind of simplicity that stirs disagreement over interpretation. This release by Britain's period-instrument Armonico Consort goes toward one extreme, but its sheer high spirits are likely to find favor with everyone except for those who like a very sober approach to the opera. Some might think of director Christopher Monks as a kind of British counterpart to the Italian musicians who have been bringing crackling high energy to Baroque opera and instrumental music. Here is a performance that emphasizes not only the tragedy, but also the low comedy in Purcell's score, and if the antics of the witches' trio are a bit broad, listeners can be assured they won't be bored. Ultimately Dido and Aeneas stands or falls on its Dido, and here the news is very good: mezzo-soprano Rachael Lloyd brings a profoundly human quality to the role. There have, to be sure, been bigger voices in the part, but given the modest confines of the work's original performance Lloyd's dimensions are probably preferable, especially in a reading that aspires to historically informed performance. Beyond its individual beauties, this is a performance that hangs together in an indefinable but very satisfying way.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Dido and Aeneas
1 01:50 Amazon
2 01:02 Amazon
3 03:11 Amazon
4 00:28 Amazon
5 00:17 Amazon
6 01:37 Amazon
7 01:26 Amazon
8 00:43 Amazon
9 00:37 Amazon
10 00:20 Amazon
11 00:47 Amazon
12 00:45 Amazon
13 01:09 Amazon
14 01:16 Amazon
15 01:41 Amazon
16 00:15 Amazon
17 00:25 Amazon
18 00:10 Amazon
19 01:03 Amazon
20 00:09 Amazon
21 01:07 Amazon
22 01:33 Amazon
23 01:05 Amazon
24 00:46 Amazon
25 02:49 Amazon
26 01:47 Amazon
27 00:26 Amazon
28 00:49 Amazon
29 02:31 Amazon
30 00:35 Amazon
31 01:01 Amazon
32 00:41 Amazon
33 00:59 Amazon
34 00:32 Amazon
35 00:37 Amazon
36 01:15 Amazon
37 03:33 Amazon
38 01:19 Amazon
39 00:58 Amazon
40 03:36 Amazon
41 03:14 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick