Author Topic: Dame Janet Baker  (Read 29233 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2007, 09:05:22 AM »
I don't altogether disagree. I have heard probably a dozen recordings and none come close in the final quarter of an hour. There are better performances overall, using orig. instruments. She is not better on other discs, but on many you get more of her.

Mike
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2007, 09:13:49 AM »
Well, it is good to read the other side of it, for sure some do not like her. I saw her in recital a number of times, she seemed to fit unobtrusively into the stage and I thought she communicated very strongly. But diferent strokes for different folks. ZB has not been by, but I know she feels Baker lays on the tone painting over what ought to be the basic voice. I don't agree, but it is a point of view. She is not universally admired.

Mike

Hi Knight, I'm a "Newbie" now!!!

Er, that were Hunt-Lieberson who started out as a soprano but decided to concentrate on lower repertoire as far as I know. Janet Baker has shown herself to be a true mezzo, no doubt about that. Of course, singers can be flexible and the dramatic soprano has the advantage of doing Carmen and/or Leonore. I personally don't think it's a good idea to venture beyond one's most comfortable centre MOST OF THE TIME. One CAN hear the seams or the forced colouring.

Recently, this came to mind hearing Victoria de los Angeles on TV.  She presented herself as a soprano (as this was the most accepted and popular type for women back then) but my teacher a long time ago said that she was really a mezzo. Soprano simply doesn't sound or feel like her comfort zone, although she managed to do a beautiful Boheme.  Then, again, Anna Moffo recorded a splendid Carmen. I don't know if in her prime Moffo would have been able to do it night after night.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

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Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2007, 09:21:00 AM »
Carmen is a strange one, Callas, Leontine Price, Troyanos, Berganza, Horne, de los Angeles, Bumbry, Gheorghiu, Jessye Norman,....just a few of those who have recorded it. What a range of voices rich mezzo to soprano. I cannot think of another major role that attracts such a variety of singers.

Mike
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2007, 02:09:47 PM »
Carmen is a strange one, Callas, Leontine Price, Troyanos, Berganza, Horne, de los Angeles, Bumbry, Gheorghiu, Jessye Norman,....just a few of those who have recorded it. What a range of voices rich mezzo to soprano. I cannot think of another major role that attracts such a variety of singers.


At least, Carmen should be a role that mezzos can call their own without sopranos grabbing it as well.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2007, 12:26:18 AM »
I would go along with all the recommendations so far. I have almost all of them, and sometimes wonder if she ever made a bad disc. I would also add one from Pentatone



This is a wonderful disc, which has on it quite the best performance of Sesto's arias from La Clemenza di Tito that I have heard. She tosses of the technical difficulties of Parto! Parto! with an ease that would be the envy of many a mezzo, whilst uncovering an emotional depth outside the range of most of them.

I would also recommend the earlier of her 2 live performances of Maria Stuarda on Ponto



Not that the later one on Chandos is bad, but this one finds her in fresher, easier voice.

And from about the same time, an often forgotten set on EMI's Gemini label. Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, on which she is a fabulous Romeo.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2007, 12:41:59 AM »
We can just keep adding!

The complete Clemenza di Tito conducted by Colin Davis still stands up well. She is Vitellia and really shows the implacable side of the character. The cast is utterly first rate.

Britten's Rape of Lucretia has her sounding fresh and innocent, full of joy, then frightened, angry and in numb dispair. She really takes you on a journey and again basically everything about the recording is first rate.

On Ponto there is a live Rosenkavalier from Scottish Opera, she comes up to the Fassbaender quality for the role of Octavian. It is in English and there is a filler of her singing live, again for Scot. Opera, the Composer music from Ariadne.

BBC have recently brought out a superb Brahms song disc, it has about 25 songs and she goes through a good many moods and injects humour where appropriate.

Solti did a recording for RCA of the Verdi Requiem, she is partnered by Leontine Price. Despite enjoying Price immensely, when you listen to Baker, you hear a quantum leap in how to make the words meaningful.

Enough for now, as you might imagine I can go on...and on.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 12:43:34 AM by knight »
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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2007, 02:49:43 AM »

For those who do not have her Purcell/Dido CD, just check out these prices!  :o

I just got a new copy for .99!!!

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2007, 06:51:37 AM »
An absurd amount when you think what little else such an amount can normally buy.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

George

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2007, 07:09:37 AM »
An absurd amount when you think what little else such an amount can normally buy.

Mike

Indeed.

But why is it so cheap? I've never seen anything on amazon so cheap, especially new.  :-\

Offline Maciek

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2007, 10:03:36 AM »
I bought mine on e-bay and I think the price was the same (Amazon marketplace doesn't ship to barbarous countries such as Poland).

Drasko

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2007, 02:03:14 AM »
I bought mine on e-bay and I think the price was the same (Amazon marketplace doesn't ship to barbarous countries such as Poland).

No way, you're merely semi-barbarous at best, I can't even get a paypal account from here  :P

Offline Maciek

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2007, 02:13:36 AM »
No way! Man, that sucks! We should start a mass protest or something. What do those guys think? Do they even think at all? Do they think Slavic countries are still stuck in the Middle Ages or something? Apparently THEY themselves are! (Ha, that felt good! 0:)) That's just so irritating!

(Another thing that irritates me even more is the amazon.co.uk system, where they have two "categories" of European countries - of course Poland is in category no. 2 and the shipping fees are more or less the same as to America... :o)

How I hate those western imperialist capitalist imbeciles! ;)

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2007, 07:47:51 AM »
Just found this on youtube. Quite wonderful!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJzvqX_phcE

Actually, if you follow the links at the side, you'll see that the rest of Nuis d'Ete is on there too.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 07:58:03 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2007, 10:43:46 AM »
Also the final aria from Dido and Aneas. It is amazing what turns up there. This one was added 18th April 07. She was always so concentrated, even in concert.

I am finding a nice clutch of newly posted performances, even some Saint Saens in English. Also some Schubert songs have been added.

Mike
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 12:48:25 PM by knight »
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Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2007, 01:15:50 PM »
Also the final aria from Dido and Aneas. It is amazing what turns up there. This one was added 18th April 07. She was always so concentrated, even in concert.

I am finding a nice clutch of newly posted performances, even some Saint Saens in English. Also some Schubert songs have been added.

Mike

I've been enjoying them too, Mike. The performance of Absence had me in tears. Truly.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline stingo

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2007, 02:32:32 PM »
A bit pricey at amazon, but very fine discs: Mahler 3rd/Ruckert Lieder (Baker) - LSO/Tilson Thomas


Offline jochanaan

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2007, 12:45:44 PM »
At least, Carmen should be a role that mezzos can call their own without sopranos grabbing it as well.
I agree.  It really needs a mezzo's resonance and darkness.  And after all, I wouldn't seriously try to play English horn parts on the oboe (although before I had an English horn, I sometimes did since no one else around had one either :-[), so I can't see why sopranos just can't be content with all their juicy heroines! ;D

As for Janet Baker, I simply cannot imagine a greater Mahler singer, or one with greater flexibility in general.  Hmmm...now I'll have to get out that old Barbirolli LP! :D And the Haitink DLvdE too.

(Does anyone have any recommendations for DLvdE recordings with great tenors?  Did Siegfried Jerusalem ever record it?)
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2007, 08:44:49 PM »
Yes Jerusalem recorded it with Levine and the mezzo songs on the recording are sung by Jessye Norman, I think it is an all round great disc. Though it would have been better for Jerusalem to have recordred it a bit earlier, he is the closest I know to Wunderlich, but he does more with the words.

Mike
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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2007, 08:00:11 AM »
Baker is exceptionally sensitive, her Elgar is unsurpassed, but usually approaching the too careful- based on an insecurity and class position she knew was a heap of ****, and which partly explains her early retirement. A self-conscious singer harbouring deep seated tensions (fine in Mahler).

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2007, 08:11:55 AM »
Well, I suppose that is an opinion, though I wonder what your evidence is. She seemed very secure in who she was and retired deliberately at the top of her game as she had no intention of doing a Caballe where you go to her concerts and try to remember what the voice was like in its glory days. Also she said she was tired of the tredmill, of having to keep herself trim for stage parts and she wanted more time just to be rather than to serve singing.

Why would she be fine in Elgar and Mahler; but by implication not other composers? Her Bach, Handel, Monteverdi, Britten, Berlioz, Brahms, Gluck, Richard Strauss, Faure, Mozart....etc, etc...all highly regarded in most quarters.

Mike

DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.