November 16, 2009

London, UK - Soprano, Sally Silver singing the role of Ariadne in the world premiere recording of the little known opera 'Bride of Dionysus' by Sir Donald Tovey (18751940) has been released on the Dutton Vocalion label.

This recording was co-produced by Peter Shore and Michael Ponder and conducted by George Vass with the Ulster Orchestra and the Belfast Philharmonic Choir at the Ulster Hall in Belfast Ireland on May 28-31, 2009.

Excerpts from Tovey's only opera, with the libretto by Robert Calverley Trevelyan, include :

Act 1, Prelude Orchestra
Act 1, Scene 1 Ariadne, Phaedra, Theseus, King Minos, Chorus
Act 2, Part 1, Scenes 6 & 7 Ariadne, Theseus
Act 2, Part 2, Opening Orchestra
Act 2, Part 2, Scenes 10, 11 & 13 Orchestra, Theseus, Phaedra
Act 3, Part 1, Scenes 1 & 5 Phaedra, Chorus
Act 3, Part 2, Scene 6 Chromis
Act 3, Part 2, Scene 7 Ariadne
Act 3, Part 2, Scene 9 & Finale Dionysus, Ariadne, Chorus

Artists : Sally Silver (soprano); Yvonne Fontane (mezzo-soprano); Robert Johnston (tenor) and Michael Bundy (baritone)

The Ulster Orchestra, lead by David Adams and Belfast Philharmonic Choir lead by Choir Master Christopher Bell

The opera, written by Tovey between 1907 an 1918, has had little exposure and to our knowledge never been recorded until now. In 1929, Tovey was finally able to conduct the premiere of The Bride of Dionysus (in a staging by Charles Ricketts).

Donald Francis Tovey has long been known as one of the finest writers on music in English having worked on numerous articles for Encyclopedia Britannica - but he saw himself primarily as a composer.

Master of the King's Musick, Edward Elgar, recommended him for a knighthood, and he was duly dubbed Sir Donald in 1935.