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Dido & Aeneas

 

Libretto
Joan Hammond
Kirsten Flagstad
Claire Watson
Janet Baker
Mary Thomas
Victoria de Los Angeles
Tatiana Troyanos
Josephine Veasey
Shirley Verrett
Jessye Norman
Guillemette Laurens
Veronique Gens
Maria Ewing
Jennifer Lane
Jennifer Lane
Nancy Maultsby
Kym Amps
Emily van Evera
Catherine Bott
Lorraine Hunt
Emily van Evera
Anne Sofie von Otter
Della Jones
Carolyn Watkinson
Wilke te Brummelstroete
Tatiana Troyanos
Emma Kirkby
Ann Murray
Lynne Dawson
Teresa Berganza
Laura Pudwell
Martha Mödl
Susan Graham
Nicola Wemyss

I believe I have (or know about) every recording of this great opera. I do not know of any recordings that I do not own.

Here is the list of the CDs I currently have, with some comments on each:

bulletPurcell society volume 1, complete on 78s (I don't know how many records), not available on CD (I have a copy on tape from the original 78s). Dido: Nancy Evans; Belinda: Mary Hamlin; Aeneas: Roy Henderson. Charles Kennedy Scott's A Cappella singers and The Boyd Neel string orchestra conducted by Clarency Raybould. Recorded 1935 in mono on 78s.

I believe this is the first complete recording of this opera ever. The sound is actually very good consider it was recorded in 1935. The performance is very good, much better than many of the recordings listed below. The only problem is that you can't get hold of this performance anywhere. It's not released on CD, and I don't know if it has ever been released on LP either. But, if you one day should see it in a music store, go get it! My hope is that someone will release it on CD one day.

bulletOpera D'Oro OPD-1220, full price. Dido: Joan Hammond. Recorded 1945. More info

Coming soon.

bulletEMI CDH 7610062, mid price. Dido: Kirsten Flagstad. Recorded 1952. More info

This CD includes some of the greatest names in the history of classical music: Kirsten Flagstad and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The sound on this recording is ok, but not among the best. I don't have many historical CDs, so I have little material to compare with. I would like the sound to be much better, but remember it's over 55 years old.

bulletUrancant 2008, full price. Dido: Martha Mödl. Recorded 1955. More info.

   This is the one of the few non-English recordings I know of. It's sung in German.

bulletBBC BBCB 8003-2, full price. Dido: Claire Watson. Recorded 1959 (Purple veil recorded in 1965). Mono recording. More info

I love Benjamin Britten's music, so I was very glad to discover that he recorded this opera. Purcell was Britten's musical hero,so it was only natural that did this. He made his own realization of it (together with Imogen Holst), and this is the only recording as far as I know of, of this version.

This recording is from 1959, and the mono sound is not among the very best. It's a full price recording, but it does not include the libretto. It's also only six tracks on the CD, which I find annoying.

The performances are very good. Another reason for having this recording is to hear Peter Pears as Aeneas. He does a splendid job. This recording may not be as good as some of the others, but it's a CD there should be room for in any Purcell collection.

bulletDecca 425 720-2, mid price. Dido: Janet Baker. Recorded 1961. More info

This recording is one the best ever of this opera. Janet Baker is a wonderful Dido and she couldn't possibly sing any better than she does here. Also the sound is good. It's an old recording, but the sound is very satisfying. This is the best recording available today, together with Christie's 2nd recording (on Erato). There could also been more CD tracks. It's only divided into 17 tracks, while others have around 35-40 (which is much better).

bulletVanguard Classics 08 2032 71, mid price. Dido: Mary Thomas Recorded 1964. More info

This is an ok recording, not more or not less. I am not too impressed with the Lament. The sound is also ok. It has also the most interesting libretto. It's a reprinting of (what seems to be) the 1689 libretto.

bulletEMI CDM 5 65664 2, mid price. Dido: Victoria de Los Angeles Recorded 1965. More info

This is one the better recordings, and there are also some great names among the soloists, not to mention the conductor! It's very exciting to hear Barbirolli conduct this opera, as he has done very much good with British music from this century (his Elgar and Delius recordings are very good). Maybe not the best recording, it's still a very good one. It's very much recommended.

bulletArchiv 447 148-2, mid price. Dido: Tatiana Troyanos. Recorded 1967. More info

This recording is also available in a box (the Purcell Collection, 8CD). This a rather good recording, and the sound is very good. I am very pleased with it, and you can do worse thing in life than buying this recording!

bulletPhilips Solo 446 577-2, mid price. Dido: Josephine Veasey. Recorded 1970. More info

This is another one of those rather good, but not among the greatest of the recordings. The sound is good.

bulletArkadia HP 619.1, full price. Dido: Shirley Verrett. Recorded live 1971. More info

The first thing you notice about this recording, is the awful sound. I have problems with enjoying this CD because of it. The Berlioz extracts has much better sound than the Dido. I am not very impressed with this recording.

bulletErato 2292-45263-2, mid price. Dido: Tatiana Troyanos. Recorded 1977. More info

This is a very good recording, atleast among the top 10. It's Troyanos 2nd recording, and she is a very good Dido. It's also worth mentioning that Philip Langridge is singing the role of sailor. The sound is good.

bulletChandos 0521, full price. Dido: Emma Kirkby. Recorded 1981. More info

This is a very good recording, and one the very best. Emma Kirkby is a very good Dido. There are a few negative things about this CD. There are no libretto, and there are only four CD tracks. Both these thing are not acceptable in a full price recording. Despite this, it's a great recording!

bulletTeldec 4509-93686-2, mid price. Dido: Ann Murray. Recorded 1983. More info

This is a good performance. Maybe not the best, but definitely not the worst. It's also good to have Harnoncourt's interpretation of this work. The sound is also good.

bulletPhilips 416 299-2, full price. Dido: Jessye Norman. Recorded 1985. More info

This is another one of those recordings with a big name in the lead. I have never been a great fan of Jessye Norman, but she does a good job here. In my opinion, her voice isn't perfect for Dido. There are many Dido's I would have preferred before her.

bulletHarmonia Mundi HMC 905173, full price. Dido: Guillmette Laurens. Recorded 1985. More info

This is one of the few non-English speaking casts. Most of the soloists are French, but you don't hear it very much. This is a very good recording, and almost as good as the one with Kirkby. Guillmette Laurens does a very good job as Dido, and Christie do also a very good job. Highly recommended.

bulletArchiv 427 624-2, full price. Dido: Anne Sofie von Otter. Recorded 1988. More info

Anne Sofie von Otter are one of the great stars of today, and she makes a very nice performance here. I have seen Lynne Dawson in concert singing Dido, so I know that she can be a marvellous Dido. She sings Belinda very well here. Also a very recommended recording.

bulletTeldec 4509-91191-2, full price. Dido: Della Jones. Recorded 1989. More info

This is another one of those good but not to impressive recordings. I am not to happy with the lament, it could have been better.

bulletPhilips 432 114-2, full price. Dido: Carolyn Watkinson. Recorded 1990. More info

John Eliot Gardiner has been one of my favourite conductors for a long time, so it's very good to see that he also has recorded this opera. I don't know much about Carolyn Watkinson, but she does a very good job as Dido. This is a highly recommended recording. It's also very nice to see that they have included a filler.

bulletWijnand van Hooff WVH 050, budget price. Dido: Wilke te Brummelstroete. Recorded 1991. More info

This is an all-Dutch recording, and with (for me) only unknown soloists. It's also not generally available. I think you must get to Holland to get it (I got it from a friend living there). It's actually a descent recording. Maybe not the best, but you can do worse.

bulletL'Oiseau-lyre 436 992-2, full price. Dido: Catherine Bott. Recorded 1992. More info

Catherine Bott is a very impressive Dido, and she sings very good. She makes this one of the best Didos. Maybe not as good as Baker and Gens, but she is clearly among the very best.

bulletHarmonia Mundi HMU 907110, full price. Dido: Lorraine Hunt. Recorded 1993. More info

 Lorraine Hunt is a very impressive Dido, and I would recommend this over the first one on the same label. Also one of the best recordings available today.

bulletBBC Music magazine BBC MM 129, budget price. Dido: Emily van Evera. Recorded 1994. More info

This is the cheapest recording you can get. You also get a good magazine with it! This is actually a rather good recording, and better than many of the "normal" recordings. 

bulletErato 4509-98477-2, full price. Dido: Veronique Gens. Recorded 1994. More info

Here we have the best of them all (together with Janet Baker on Decca)! This is a wonderful recording, and Veronique Gens is a great Dido. I am very happy that Christie made his second recording! It's going to be difficult to get any better than this. I can't recommend this recording too much.

bulletChandos CHAN 0586, full price. Dido: Maria Ewing. Recorded 1995. More info

I have never really liked this recording, and it's because of Maria Ewing as Dido. She is not too good in the video either, where she shows very little emotions in her singing. The video itself is good, but not Ewing's acting. It's a film version, and not a stage recording, so it's easy to follow the action. If you would like to have this recording, get the video as you then add another dimension to the music.

bulletVox classics VOX 7518, budget price. Dido: Jennifer Lane. Recorded 1995. More info

This is a very interesting recording because they have tried to restore some of the "wrong-doings" on earlier performances. They have included several instrumental pieces and changed who should some of the arias. Also, Jennifer Lane performs well. A good performance.

bulletCBC SMCD 5147, full price. Dido: Jennifer Lane. Recorded 1995. More info

This is the soundtrack of an all-male ballet. I have seen it on TV, and I can't say I liked it too much. A little bit to strange for me. The recording itself are very good, and I believe that Jennifer Lane sings better here than on her Vox recording. This is also the only recording of Dido & Aeneas with a female conductor.

bulletTelarc CD-80424, full price. Dido: Nancy Maultsby. Recorded 1996. More info

This is one of the the newest recordings of this opera, but not among the best. It's a good one, but I am not to happy with Maultsby as Dido. I prefer my Dido not to be so low as she is.

bulletNaxos 8.553108, budget price. Dido: Kym Amps. Recorded 1994. More info

I have been waiting for the Scholars baroque ensemble to record Dido & Aeneas for a long time now. After I heard their recordings of The Messiah and St. John passion, both on Naxos, I have wanted them to record this opera. So, it was with great anticipation I bought this new recording. They didn't let me down. This is a very good recording! It might not be the very best, but it's not far from it. Kym Amps is a very good Dido. It's also very good to have such a good recording available at such low price. It's a highly recommended recording.

A link to the Dido & Aeneas page on the Naxos homepage.

bulletSony SK 62993, full price. Dido: Emily van Evera. Released 1999. More info

This is the same recording as the BBC Music Magazine CD mentioned above.

bulletHarmonia Mundi HMC 901683, full price. Dido: Lynne Dawson. Recorded 1998. More info

I have been waiting for Lynne Dawson to record this opera for a long time, and I am very glad to finally be able to listen to her Dido on CD. She does a very good Dido. It's also worth mentioning that this recording is one of the longest at almost one hour. Very good recording and warmly recommended.

Other recordings that I have, but not yet have had time to comment on:

bulletCascavelle VEL 5005, full price. Dido: Teresa Barganza. Recorded 1999. More info
bulletGlossa GCD 921601, full price. Dido: Laura Pudwell. Recorded 2000. More info
bulletVirgin Veritas 545 6052, full price. Dido: Susan Graham. Recorded 2003. More info
bulletBrilliant Classics 92464, budget price. Dido: Nicola Wemyss. Recorded 2004. More info.
bulletManchester Files CDMAN138. Dido: Eugenia Gorokhovskaya. Recorded 1977. More info
bulletWalhall Eternity series WLCD 0186. Dido: Kirsten Flagstad. Recorded 1951. More info
bulletEdition Lilac 200204-2. Dido: Evelyn Tubb. Recorded 2002. More info
bulletCascavelle VEL 3107. Dido: Irma Kolassi. Recorded 1951. More info
bulletDecca 468 561-2. Dido: Janet Baker. Recorded 1975. More info
bulletLyrichord LEMS 8057. Dido: Julianne Baird. Recorded 2007. More info
bulletGlobe 5020. Dido: Rachel Ann Morgan. Recorded 1989. More info
 
bulletVocal and full score, Novello ISBN 0-85360-284-0 and order no. NOV 070318. Edited by Margaret Laurie and Thurston Dart. More info.
 
bulletA live concert! I was fortunate to be able to attend the King's consort conducted by Robert King in a concertante performance of this opera in 1995. Lynn Dawson sang Dido and Nancy Argenta Belinda. It was a marvellous concert! This concert also included one of Purcell's odes.
 
bulletEllen T. Harris: Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Clarendon paperback, 184 pages. More info.

See the book section for further info on this book.

If you know of any other recordings (or relevant books) with Dido & Aeneas other than the ones mentioned here, tell me! I would be very much interested in getting more recordings.

Here is a link to the full score. You can buy the full score here

Here is another Dido & Aeneas page in Dutch. And here is one in french


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Last updated:
01.07.2008