Daniel Purcell: The Judgment of Paris
Resonus Classics (RES10128)
World première recording
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
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.'
'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.'
'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.'
'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