Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

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 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:50 Amazon
2 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:02 Amazon
3 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 03:11 Amazon
4 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:28 Amazon
5 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:17 Amazon
6 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:37 Amazon
7 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:26 Amazon
8 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:43 Amazon
9 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:37 Amazon
10 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:20 Amazon
11 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:47 Amazon
12 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:45 Amazon
13 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:09 Amazon
14 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:16 Amazon
15 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:41 Amazon
16 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:15 Amazon
17 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:25 Amazon
18 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:10 Amazon
19 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:03 Amazon
20 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:09 Amazon
21 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:07 Amazon
22 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:33 Amazon
23 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:05 Amazon
24 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:46 Amazon
25 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 02:49 Amazon
26 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:47 Amazon
27 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:26 Amazon
28 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:49 Amazon
29 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 02:31 Amazon
30 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:35 Amazon
31 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:01 Amazon
32 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:41 Amazon
33 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:59 Amazon
34 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:32 Amazon
35 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:37 Amazon
36 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:15 Amazon
37 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 03:33 Amazon
38 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 01:19 Amazon
39 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 00:58 Amazon
40 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 03:36 Amazon
41 Armonico Consort / Christopher Monks 03:14 Amazon
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