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Blow: Venus And Adonis / Kenny, Theatre Of The Ayre

Blow / Kenny / Theatre Of The Ayre / Daneman
Release Date: 05/17/2011 
Label:  Wigmore Hall Live   Catalog #: 43  
Composer:  John BlowMichel LambertRobert de Visée
Performer:  Elin Manahan ThomasSophie DanemanRoderick Williams
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Elizabeth Kenny’s meticulously prepared semi-staged production … should become a benchmark collector’s item." -- Musical Pointers

The author of the libretto of Venus & Adonis, the oldest surviving all-sung English opera (1683), had the simple moniker of "anonymous," until recent research uncovered the true librettist to be not only female, but also maid of honour to the Duchess of York, Maria Beatrice of Modena. In penning Venus & Adonis, Anne Kingsmill (1661-1720) used her inside knowledge to comment on court morals with staggering directness, incorporating strands of comedy, sexual politics and passionate love. For this recording of Venus & Adonis on Wigmore Hall Live, Elizabeth Kenny, one
Read more of Europe's leading lute players and founder of the Theatre of the Ayre, has, for the first time, used girl choristers in the chorus and females rather than boys in the roles of Cupid and Little Cupids. The critically-lauded Theatre of the Ayre was set up to explore the dramatic vocal music of 17th century England and this performance, with its distinctive female perspective and improvisatory nature apt to Blow's recitative style, is a faithful interpretation. The distinguished vocal line-up includes Sophie Daneman, Roderick Williams and Elin Manahan Thomas. Venus & Adonis later served as a model for Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and in this new recording - alongside Lambert's excerpts from Livre d'airs de cour and de Visée's Chaconne - it demands attention as a masterpiece in its own right.

R E V I E W S:

"Long overshadowed by Dido and Aeneas, John Blow's Venus and Adonis beguiles in this witty, sensual performance under lutenist Elizabeth Kenny. Sophie Daneman and Roderick Williams are the lovers, while Elin Manahan Thomas leads the little Cupids (the girls of Salisbury Cathedral choir) in their ABC. Decoration is free and elegant, the accompanying programme of dances and songs (including Lambert's Vos mépris and De Visée's Chaconne) deliciously seductive."

-- Ana Picard, The Independent (UK)
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Works on This Recording

1. Chloe found Amyntas lying by John Blow
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1700; England 
2. Ground in G minor by John Blow
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; England 
3. Vos mespris chaque jour by Michel Lambert
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Period: Baroque 
4. Chaconne by Robert de Visée
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Period: Baroque 
5. Venus and Adonis by John Blow
Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Sophie Daneman (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Elizabeth Kenny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of the Ayre
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 

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