Free download: The Sixteen performs Purcell

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Free download: The Sixteen performs Purcell

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Henry Purcell was born into a family of court musicians a year before Charles II was invited to restore the monarchy. The Restoration allowed Purcell’s talent to be nurtured amidst new theatres, a new court orchestra and a new Chapel Royal, which was where he learned his craft among the likes of John Blow, Pelham Humfrey and Michael Wise.

The Indian Queen is one of the least performed of Purcell's operas, but that's not to say it doesn't contain some exceptional music. Based on the 1664 play by poet John Dryden, the five-act opera tells of the conflict between the Mexicans and Peruvians in a story of love and war centered around Queen Zempoalla.

Purcell was commissioned to write music for Dryden’s play by Thomas Betterton, who’d been asked to transform it into an opera. Purcell's untimely death in 1695 meant that he never completed the score, so what exists today is the completion made by Purcell's brother Daniel. The work was first performed at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane later that year.

Click 'Download now' to enjoy The Sixteen's performance of ‘What Flatt’ring Noise is This’ from Act II of the opera.

 

The Sixteen’s recording of Purcell’s The Indian Queen is out on Monday 2 March on the Coro label. Click here to preorder the disc

 

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