Gay/Britten: The Begger's Opera / Meredith Davies, English Chamber Orchestra

Release Date: 7/14/2009
Label: Decca
Catalog Number: 001304809
Composer: John Gay
Conductor: Meredith Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble: English Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

Notes and Editorial Reviews
First ever release on any format of an historic and unique TV recording of Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera; the latest in Decca’s critically acclaimed ‘Britten-Pears Collection “There is no weak link in a splendidly committed cast... Crisp and clean black-and-white video quality and an excellent audio production” Chicago Tribune on Billy Budd, released in 2008 in the first batch of the ‘Britten-Pears Collection’

First-ever release on any format of this historic BBC film and the first release on DVD of Britten’s arrangement of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, this DVD is the latest addition to Decca’s ‘Britten-Pears Collection’

Originally broadcast in 1963 and now meticulously restored by the BBC, this film features a superb cast, including Janet Baker as Polly Peachum and the much-loved Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar as the highwayman Macheath.

Gay’s opera was a great success when first performed in 1728, satirising the conventions of Italian opera and using popular tunes. Britten’s distinctive musical arrangements were a significant revision to Gay’s original, effectively creating a new 20th-century opera.


Janet Baker (Polly Peachum)
Kenneth McKellar (Captain Macheath)
Bryan Drake (Lockit)
Heather Harper (Lucy Lockit)

English Chamber Orchestra
Meredith Davies (conductor)

Stage production by Colin Graham, directed for film by Charles R Rogers. Composers John Gay / Benjamin Britten

Forat: NTSC DVD 9, Aspect Radio 4:3, LPCM Mono/Enhanced Dolby Stereo
Region: 0 (All)
Video in: Black and White
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
Booklet texts: English, French, German
Works on This Recording
1. Beggar's Opera by John Gay
Performer: Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Bryan Drake (Baritone), Heather Harper (Soprano), Kenneth McKellar (Tenor)
Conductor: Meredith Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble: English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: by 1728 ; England
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