Baby the reine must fall

To celebrate the opening of the 2015-16 opera season, I’m beginning this new series of “pirate-casts” with a great opera: Berlioz’s Les Troyens in a rare 1972 broadcast in English from Covent Garden featuring the luminous pairing of Janet Baker and Jon Vickers as Didon and Énée.  

Based on the warm response to my recent series about my long affection for live recordings, La Cieca asked me to present each Thursday a gem (along with perhaps an occasional rhinestone) from my collection. We hope they will complement the marvelous programs Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin has been providing on Mondays.

The lively discussion about Dame Janet several weeks ago on her 81st birthday centered on her concert repertoire. But I always found her to be an extraordinary opera performer also and searched out many of her radio performances and broadcasts. Those who fault Baker for her French will have no cause for complaint in her searing portrayal here of the tragic Carthaginian queen, a fascinating contrast to her much-loved recording of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

Berlioz: Les Troyens  (In English)
Royal Opera, Covent Garden
7 October 1972

Cassandra- Josephine Veasey
Dido- Janet Baker
Anna- Heather Begg
Ascanius – Anne Pashley
Aeneas- Jon Vickers
Coroebus- Robert Kerns
Narbal – Stafford Dean
Iopas – Francis Egerton
Pantheus – Richard van Allan
Hylas – Derek Blackwell
First Soldier – Michael Rippon
Second Soldier – Paul Hudson

Conductor – Colin Davis

For listening convenience, this towering work’s two sections are presented in separate players.

La Prise de Troie:

Les Troyens à Carthage: