The Indian queen

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An unfinished opera, or according to wikipedia “semi-opera”. This was written in the Restoration period of England, the second half of the seventeenth century, after the civil war. Works like this usually contained elaborate machinery on stage, a very spectacular sight, the so called Restoration spectacular.

This was originally a play, but theatre manager Thomas Betterton got fifty pounds to make it an opera, and he asked Purcell to do the music. A year later Purcell died in his home, of reasons unknown now. So the work was never finished, though his brother Daniel did a valiant effort. What remains is on this record.

A beautiful recording, of the then still young John Eliot Gardiner. Gardiner started his career with Monteverdi, so this was well known terrain for him. He is now better known for his Bach interpretations though. Always in the historically informed way: using instruments and techniques of the time of composing.

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