Janet Baker

(b. 1933) English operatic mezzo-soprano

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(b Hatfield, Doncaster, 1933).

Eng. mezzo‐soprano. Sang in Leeds Phil. Choir (soloist in Haydn's Nelson Mass 1953). Joined Ambrosian Singers 1955; 2nd prize Kathleen Ferrier Comp. 1956; opera début 1956 (Roza in Smetana's The Secret) with Oxford Univ. Opera Club. Glyndebourne Ch. 1956. Queen's Prize 1959. Wexford Fest. 1959. Sang leading roles with Handel Opera Soc. 1959; Aldeburgh Fest. with Britten from 1962, giving f.p. of Phaedra, 1976. Sang Lucretia in EOG's Russ. tour 1964. Recorded Angel in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius (1964, cond. Barbirolli). NY début 1966 (concert); CG 1966; Glyndebourne 1970; ENO 1971. Created Kate in Owen Wingrave (tv 1971, CG 1973). Salzburg Fest. 1973 (concert). Retired from opera 1982, last appearance being as Orpheus in Gluck's opera at Glyndebourne (but sang Orpheus in NY concert 1989). One of most intense and intelligent of contemp. singers, as impressive in operatic parts as in the realm of Lieder, Eng. and Fr. song, oratorio, and Mahler. Hamburg Shakespeare Prize 1971. Autobiography Full Circle (London, 1982). CBE 1970. DBE 1976. CH 1994.

Subjects: Opera.

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