‘Festival of Britten’ Askonas Holt artists star in two major new DVD releases

Two major new recordings of Britten’s Gloriana and The Rape of Lucretia have been released this month to coincide with the composer’s 100th Birthday on 22 November featuring, between them, no less that eight Askonas Holt artists.  

Gloriana was recorded at Covent Garden earlier this year.  Richard Jones’ new production of the work, the first seen in the house since the opera’s premiere 60 years ago, was one of the major events of the Britten centenary year.  The DVD stars Toby Spence (one of the world’s finest Britten interpreters) as Essex, confidante and favourite of Elizabeth I, and Kate Royal (whose Britten roles have included Helena and an acclaimed Governess at Glyndebourne) as Lady Penelope Rich, his sister.  Mark Stone (who sings his first Ferryman in Curlew River at the Barbican this month) is Mountjoy and Brindley Sherratt (who had such a success as Claggart in the Glyndebourne Festival’s production of Billy Budd this summer) all but steals the show as the Blind Ballad Singer.  

The Rape of Lucretia is a particularly welcome addition to the catalogue and brings to the small screen David McVicar’s acclaimed production filmed at Britten’s own Aldeburgh Festival back in 2001.  The recording captures Sarah Connolly‘s much praised interpretation of Lucretia (a role she also performed in London and Munich) and Chistopher Maltman‘s youthful, virile Tarquinius.  John Mark Ainsley (in demand the world over for Britten’s music) is the Male Chorus and Catherine Wyn-Rogers is Lucretia’s sympathetic servant Bianca (a role she is currently reprising with great success in Glyndebourne’s new production of the opera).
Click here for more information about Gloriana. Please click here to read more about The Rape of Lucretia. Both DVDs are available to purchase at the ROH shop.

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