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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall

09/22/2013 1:00 pm
09/22/2013 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Rutland Boughton (1878-1960) was one of the most significant composers of English opera in the twentieth century. His work deserves to be much better known. I have done my part to promote his music in my broadcasts. The British Hyperion label has given us recordings of Boughton's fairy opera The Immortal Hour (1914) and his Nativity opera Bethlehem (1915). Both of them you have heard on this program in years past.

The Queen of Cornwall (1923-24) is Boughton's take on the ancient Celtic story of the love of Tristan and Isolde. Boughton adapted Thomas Hardy's play about Queen Iseult into a music drama. In doing so he received Hardy's blessing. Boughton also set as songs several little lyric poems of Hardy's that he incorporated into the score of the opera.

The world premiere recording of Boughton's The Queen of Cornwall came out in 2010 through another lesser known British record label, Dutton Epoch. Ronald Corp directs the New London Orchestra and members of the London Chorus, with eight vocal soloists. The opera was recorded in studio circumstances in London under the auspices of the Rutland Boughton Music Trust. The two Dutton silver discs come on loan for broadcast thanks to fellow record collector Rob Meehan.