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This re-issue of the 1994 recording is certainly idiosyncratic but there is much to like, starting with the Taverner Players (led by Andrew Manze) who locate a strain of sad nostalgia right from the beginning and hold onto it in an elegant, expressive performance. You couldn’t call it madly dramatic; conductor Andrew Parrott is unhurried to the point of stasis at times, and dances become earthbound. The Taverner Choir is tight and accurate while veering a bit close to the cathedral for my taste (they vim things up for witches and sailors). The versatile American soprano Emily Van Evera is Dido – light but not short of emotion, she has a delicate way of adding grace- notes like a chaste Montserrat Figueras, and rises to surprising heights in the lament. The rest of the voices are more music-theatre than opera but Purcell can handle that and there is an effective freshness and charm about it, even if Ben Parry’s Aeneas is really too light. The G minor Pavan added at the end is a nice plus.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica


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