Magazine article Opera Canada

A Celebration of the Art of Janet Baker

Magazine article Opera Canada

A Celebration of the Art of Janet Baker

Article excerpt

Decca: 478 0320

This summer, the great English mezzo, Janet Baker, celebrated her 75th birthday. As the program notes for this new release point out, "Some singers are admired, a smaller number are worshipped, and a handful are genuinely loved." Baker falls into the latter group, particularly in the U.K., where much of her career took place and where she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1976.

Included in this generously filled issue are works by many of the composers most identified with this accomplished singer, including Bach, Handel, Purcell, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Berlioz and Britten. Given her keen musicianship and probing interpretive power, Baker is particularly compelling in those works requiring depth of feeling and intense internalized emotion. In arias such as Dido's "When I am laid in earth," Baker creates an atmosphere of stillness while surrounding her character with an aura of quiet, tragic dignity. On the other hand, one only to listen to the demanding, florid "Dopo notte" from Handel's Ariodante to realize Baker's for midable technique could clear any vocal hurdle. …

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