‘Queen Victoria loved music for music’s sake, and singing appealed especially to her. It was a joy, a necessity to her to hear music every day and to keep in contact with the musicians of her time. Artists met with the most charming and graceful reception, and the Queen always entertained herself for a long time with them about the works and their performance!’
That is from Blanche Marchesi’s autobiography; the passage could be paralleled in the life of almost every singer of Victoria’s reign. The Queen was a connoisseur.
The first complete issue (outside of a limited edition box set collection) of a celebrated 2LP set recorded by Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge in 1962. The songs, arias and ballads were selected to make up the kind of program which, as contemporary accounts reveal, might well have been given by royal command before Queen Victoria. The pieces range from ‘Ocean! Thou mighty monster’ from Weber’s Oberon to one of Queen Victoria’s staunchest favourites – Home, sweet home. The colourful and fascinating original notes for the LP issue by Andrew Porter are reprinted for this CD issue.
Joan Sutherland: Command Performance
Balfe, Michael William: I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls (from The Bohemian Girl)
Bellini, Vincenzo: Eccomi pronta...Deh, se un'urna (from Beatrice di Tenda)
Benedict, Julius: The Gypsy and the Bird
Bishop, Henry Rowley:
Lo! Here the gentle lark
Home, Sweet Home
Flotow, Friedrich Adolph Ferdinand von: The Last Rose of Summer (Martha)
Qual fiamma avea nel guardo!.... Hui! Stridono lassù (from I Pagliacci)
Mattinata - 'L'aurora di bianco vestita'
Massenet, Jules Emile Frederic: De cet affreux combat…Pleurez, mes yeux ! (from Le Cid)
Meyerbeer, Giacomo: Dieu! Comme cette nuit est lente...Ombre légère (from Dinorah)
Ricci, Federico: Io non sono piu l'Annetta (from Crispino e la Comare)
Rossini, Gioacchino Antonio: Vorrei spiegarvi il giubilo (from La cambiale di matrimonio)
Tosti, Francesco Paolo:
Tu del mio Carlo (from I masnadieri)
Che! e segnar questa mano potrebbe l’onta mia (from Luisa Miller)
Tu puniscimi, o Signore … A brani, a brani, o perfido (from Luisa Miller)
Wallace, William Vincent: Maritana: 'Scenes that are brightest'
Weber, Carl Maria von: Ozean, du Ungeheuer (from Oberon)