- The Midsummer Marriage, opera in 3 acts
Lyrita is to be commended for reissuing Colin Davis' superb 1970 recording of "The Midsummer Marriage," one of the most lyrically radiant, atmospheric, inventively quirky, and brilliantly orchestrated operas of the twentieth century, a work that certainly deserves to be better known and more frequently performed than it is. The music is gorgeously expressive, and in spite of the strangeness of the libretto, the dramatic flow is purposeful, and engages the audience in the fate of the pairs of lovers. Davis has been a passionate advocate of Tippett's music, and this recording grew out of a Covent Garden production that he conducted. The orchestral playing is colorful and sparkling, and puts Tippett's score across with great energy. The Covent Garden Chorus shines, singing with youthful vigor and dramatic incisiveness. The soloists are consistently compelling. Joan Carlyle makes Jenifer's transformation from chilly restraint to burning ardor fully convincing. Alberto Remedios succeeds in projecting Mark's passion, but this is a role that really cries out for a heldentenor, although it is usually cast with lighter voices. Elizabeth Harwood and Stuart Burrows are adorable and warm as the Papageno/Papagena couple. Raimund Herincx as King Fisher and Helen Watts as Sosostris sing beautifully and with a strong sense of drama. The sound is present and atmospheric, with excellent balance, allowing the many felicities of Tippett's score to be heard with clarity.