Berlioz: Les Troyens - Vickers, Baker, Silja, Glossop, Begg, Bainbridge, Langdon; Davis. London, 1969


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This performance was meant to be a dry run for the Colin Davis Les Troyens on Phillips.  However, fate intervened and Josephine Veasey fell ill.  Fortunately there was Dame Janet Baker who jumped into the role of Didon on very little notice.  The catch is that she had to sing it in English having never done the role in French.  The result is at first a little strange but after a while one grows to appreciate the closer connection to the text (at least the English-speaking listeners will.)  And Baker's delivers a lesson in flawless English diction.  Jon Vickers sings Énée.  On paper this does not seem like it would be a good fit with the notoriously high tessitura but by sheer force of will he gets through it and delivers some very exciting singing showing that perhaps Berlioz was not after "easy" vocal production.  The other great difference from the Phillips recording is the Cassandra of Anja Silja.  She is a vast improvement to Berit Lindholm.  In the hands of Sir Colin Davis almost every minute of this uncut (!) performance is overflowing with passion.  The sound is very good, although occasionally there is some very mild static.

OD 10408-4

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