Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
Glyndebourne Festival Opera with Janet Baker and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Raymond Leppard
WARNER VISION 5050467-3921-2-0
I recall this as being one of the finest of Sir Peter Hall's productions for Glyndebourne and a fitting tribute to Janet Baker's career upon the stage. Though the screen often seems to be in soft focus the recording is remarkably good and the sound quality fine. The most challenging thing about the recording is the way it has aged stylistically. Raymond Leppard and the London Philharmonic Orchestra create a lush sound throughout and the version used is the most romantic of those available - a far cry from the original instrument astringency we are more familiar with today and the use of a counter tenor in the lead. Not that this should put anybody off as Janet Baker is heart-breakingly effective as Orfeo and superbly supported by Elisabeth Speiser and Elizabeth Gale as Euridice and Amor. Lest we forget what it was like in the old house, the concluding scene involves the audience with garlands spreading through the auditorium and up to the balcony - a lovely moment which I well remember and which is here movingly captured. More than just an historical document - a vivid and living proof of a total art work.