Retrospect Opera

Great British Operas On Record

The Jubilee by Charles Dibdin
David Garrick’s three-day Shakespeare festival, or ‘Jubilee’, held at Stratford-upon-Avon in September 1769, was the most talked about cultural event of the British eighteenth century: a celebration of Shakespeare’s genius on a quite unprecedented scale. It was a very musical occasion, with Garrick’s delightful songs, composed by Charles Dibdin, the leading young theatre composer of the age, featuring prominently. Immediately afterwards, Garrick worked these popular songs into his musical comedy, The Jubilee, which proved an astounding triumph on the London stage, enjoying a longer opening run than any other work of the century.
This CD, issued to celebrate the 250th anniversary of these events, brings together a chamber version of The Jubilee, Dibdin’s Queen Mab, a cantata composed for the Stratford festivities, and his later Datchet Mead of 1797, a piece in which Dibdin returned to his Shakespearean inspirations to celebrate the marriage of Charlotte, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of George III. By the 1790s Dibdin had his own London theatre, the Sans Souci, and Datchet Mead, billed as a ‘serenata’, was the most extended piece of music he ever presented there, a showcase for the musical talents that saw him acclaimed the finest British composer of his generation.

  • Tracks 1: Prologue (1.38)
  • Tracks 2-5: Queen Mab (8.03)
  • Tracks 6-22: The Jubilee (37.46)
  • Tracks 23-32: Datchet Mead (21.10)
  • Robert Murray (tenor)
  • Soraya Mafi (soprano)
  • Heather Shipp (mezzo-soprano)
  • Simon Butteriss (baritone)
  • Stephen Higins (fortepiano)
  • with Matthew Truscott and John Crockett (violins), Aliye Cornish (viola), Robin Michael (cello), Lisa Beznosiuk (flute) and Zoe Shevlin (bassoon)
  • The 36-page booklet includes the full libretto, and essays by David Chandler and John Cunningham.
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