Aria for … Friday – O del mio dolce ardor (Paride ed Elena)

In Aria For ..., Classical Music, Opera on May 31, 2013 at 6:11 am

What better way to start a Friday? Me. An empty office. And Dame Janet Baker.

Perhaps unusually my first Dame Janet Baker disc was her recital of Gluck arias on tape. I also have a hazy recollection that her Julius Caesar was also the first televised opera I watched. But I could be wrong about that.

But with this recital I was hooked on Gluck and Dame Baker – it’s been a life long love affair ever since.

In a time before period instruments and performance and even since these performances set the standard.

And this aria from Paride ed Elena – possibly almost unknown at the time of original recording to many people – is a little gem.

Above the gentle pulsating accompaniment of the English Chamber Orchestra under Raymond Leppard, Janet Baker imbues the vocal line with an intensity that is hard to match.

Each phrase is beautifully shaped, spun out and given the space to breath.

Each word carefully and clearly placed.

Listen for example to “Cerco te, chiamo te” and then the delicacy of the glissando at ‘sospiro’ – it literally sends shivers down the spine. And then with the reprise she ratchets up the emotional intensity up a notch.

Definitely a desert island disc.

  1. […] a fitting end to the first half. From Gluck’s ‘later’ operas – a sensitively performed O mio dolce amore – one of my favourite arias by Gluck and Che puro ciel. Ms Hallenberg’s performance had the […]

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