Margaret Catchpole - OUT SOON!

Margaret Catchpole - OUT SOON!

Naxos [3 CDs]


World première recording of Margaret Catchpole: Two Worlds Apart – a tale of misguided loyalty, passion and fate.

Dating from 1979, Stephen Dodgson's opera tells the story of Suffolk heroine, criminal and chronicler, Margaret Catchpole. It immerses us in the internal battle between her good character and values, and her heartfelt loyalty to the man she loves, the smuggler Will Laud.

Margaret Catchpole – Kate Howden, mezzo-soprano
Will Laud – William Wallace, tenor
John Luff – Nicholas Morris, bass
John Barry – Alistair Ollerenshaw, baritone
Crusoe – Richard Edgar-Wilson, tenor
Mrs Cobbold – Diana Moore, mezzo-soprano
Dr Stebbing – Peter Willcock, bass
Judge – Matthew Brook, bass
Mrs Palmer – Julia Sporsén, soprano
Guard – Jon Stainsby, baritone
Alice/Lucy – Robyn Allegra Parton, soprano
Farmer Denton – Michael Bundy, bass
Mrs Denton – Leonora Dawson-Bowling, mezzo-soprano
First labourer – Jonathan Hanley, tenor
Second labourer – Mark Saberton, baritone 

Julian Perkins, Conductor
Ensemble Perpetuo

John Eccles: Semele - OUT SOON!

John Eccles: Semele - OUT SOON!

AAM012 [2 CDs]


The Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Cambridge Early Music and Julian Perkins are proud to present the first professional recording of John Eccles’s scintillating Semele (c.1707), the first setting of the great English libretto by William Congreve, better known in G. F. Handel’s version of 1744. 

Jupiter, King of the Gods – Richard Burkhard, baritone
Juno, Queen of the Gods – Helen Charlston, mezzo soprano
Iris, handmaid to Juno – Héloïse Bernard, soprano
Cupid, God of Love – Bethany Horak-Hallett, mezzo soprano
Somnus, God of Sleep – Christopher Foster, bass
Apollo, Sun God and God of Prophecy – Jolyon Loy, baritone

Cadmus, King of Thebes – Jonathan Brown, baritone
Semele, daughter of Cadmus – Anna Dennis, soprano
Ino, sister of Semele – Aoife Miskelly, soprano
Athamas, a prince of Bœotia – William Wallace, tenor
Chief Priest – Graeme Broadbent, bass
Second Priest / First Augur – Rory Carver, tenor
Third Priest / Second Augur – James Rhoads, tenor

Julian Perkins, Director & Harpsichord 
Academy of Ancient Music

The Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Cambridge Early Music and Julian Perkins are proud to present the first professional recording of John Eccles’s scintillating Semele (c.1707), the first setting of the great English libretto by William Congreve, better known in G. F. Handel’s version of 1744. Tenor Rory Carver, baritone Richard Burkhard and soprano Anna Dennis join Perkins and members of the Academy of Ancient Music in introducting their recording, released in early 2021. Please visit


'Semele' (c.1707) | John Eccles (c.1668–1735) Libretto by William Congreve (1670–1729)

Daniel Purcell: The Judgment of Paris

Daniel Purcell: The Judgment of Paris

Resonus Classics (RES10128)


World première recording

In 1700 a group of English patrons devised a competition for settings of a libretto by William Congreve. It attracted four entrants: John Eccles, Gottfried Finger, John Weldon and Daniel Purcell, younger cousin or brother of the late Henry Purcell. Paris, a shepherd, is visited by Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, who gives him the Golden Apple of Discord, which he has to award to the most deserving of three goddesses – Venus, Pallas (Athene) or Juno. Daniel Purcell’s setting manifests a richly inventive and innovative musical style in a bold attempt to create a school of all-sung English opera.

Anna Dennis Venus – Goddess of Love
Amy Freston Pallas – Goddess of War
Ciara Hendrick Juno – Goddess of Marriage
Samuel Boden Paris – a shepherd
Ashley Riches Mercury – Messenger of the Gods 

Rodolfus Choir

Julian Perkins conductor


Audio samples and booklet are available at Resonus Classics

'Thanks to this well-made recording, with a cast led by soprano Anna Dennis and [tenor] Samuel Boden, an overlooked episode in English musical history is exposed.'

Financial Times

'This is one of Resonus’s most enjoyable discoveries and it’s my own personal favourite. I’ve made it a Recording of the Month for many reasons: as well as making available some fine music which has been largely ignored, it introduces us – me, at any rate – to some fine young performers… the work is delightful – not the equal of Henry’s Dido and Æneas but as entertaining as his Indian Queen – and the performances do it excellent service.'

MusicWeb International

'The florid writing is extremely well handled here by a splendid cast, Samuel Boden's Paris and Ashley Riches' Mercury in particular, while the opera is directed by Julian Perkins with verve and wit.'

Early Music Today

'Daniel Purcell’s drama is absorbing and certainly musically entertaining… high-quality entertainment.'

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

'It is a pleasure to welcome this recording for the sake of Daniel Purcell's opera but doubly so because Perkins and his forces give a delightfully involving and stylish performance which is more than recommendable on its own terms.

Samuel Boden makes a fine Paris with a lovely lyric tenor voice. His lovely seductive tones and lyrical cantilena impress particularly in his final aria when he makes his judgement in fine style. His three goddesses are Anna Dennis, Amy Freston and Clara Hendricks, each a charming delight. Dennis is suitably seductive as Venus, Hendricks is a very spirited Juno and Amy Freston a bravura Pallas. Ashley Riches makes a deeply dignified and involving Mercury at the opening.

The opera consists of a series of short numbers, 31 in all, with each goddess getting a little scene. Though I have seen it live many years ago, I have to confess to no remembrance of it in performance. But from this disc I think it would make a highly effective and delightful stage work.

Though the airs are short, the vocal writing is not uncomplicated and all soloists are stylish and involving. Spiritato! lives up to its name, giving us a spirited and sophisticated performance. There is crisp support from the Rodolfus Choir. Perkins keeps the work flowing nicely and gets a stylish performance all round.'

Planet Hugill

'In rescuing Daniel Purcell’s… delightful short semi-opera, The Judgement of Paris (1701) from canonical oblivion, the Spiritato! ensemble, under the musical direction of Julian Perkins, has done lovers of baroque music a great service.'

British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies - concert review

'... in the rescuing hands of Spiritato!, the Rodolfus Choir and a strong team of soloists in this celebratory performance at St John’s Smith Square, Purcell’s (largely neglected) opera sparkled at us across the silent centuries with joyful conviction, playfulness and verve.'

Bachtrack - concert review