Britten: Gloriana (World Premiere) - Cross, Pears, Evans, Sinclair, Coates; Pritchard. London, 1953


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Britten’s Gloriana must have been very perplexing to the Britons when it debuted in 1953 in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Although Britten delivers on pomp and pageantry, the story follows Elizabeth on a path leading to her isolation from the world (hardly a theme to send off a young queen. Perhaps Britten was making a veiled commentary as to the redundancy of such a figurehead.) Having only heard her as Ellen Orford, I had my doubts as to whether Joan Cross had the ability to convey the imposing grandeur of Elizabeth, but she quickly proved me wrong. She conveys an imperial quality from her entrance and it remains on display even during the more personal moments. Peter Pears is Robert Devereux. Even though the role may be a shade to heavy for his voice, dramatically he makes an impressive impact. The rest of the cast includes Geraint Evans, Monica Sinclair and Edith Coates. The sound is very good.

OD 11092-2