- Dido and Aeneas, opera, Z. 626
20.91 In Stock
In 2016, multichannel recording is regarded by classical listeners as state of the art, and some of the finest recordings available have been released in the hybrid SACD format. In 1970, quadraphonic recording was the most advanced technology, and Philips was one of the leading labels developing the process, as shown by this historic recording of Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas." This early English opera may not seem like a practical demonstration piece for showing off the depth, wide frequency range, and clarity of Philips' quadraphonic recording, or, for that matter, PentaTone's multichannel remastering, considering the rather monochrome sound of strings and continuo. However, Colin Davis and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields delivered "Dido and Aeneas" with extraordinary energy and precision, and the cast -- featuring Josephine Veasey as Dido, John Shirley-Quirk as Aeneas, and Helen Donath as Belinda -- sang with crisp diction, beautiful tone, and powerful presence. The spaciousness of the recording is most evident whenever the John Alldis Choir enters with its vigorous choruses, and the dramatic contrasts with the soloists highlight the effectiveness of the innovative microphone placement. Newcomers to this opera may skip ahead to Dido's famous aria, "When I am laid in earth," but because the opera runs less than an hour, the recording deserves a full hearing to reveal its excellence as a performance and as an important artifact from the early days of audiophile sound. Highly recommended.