Christian Curnyn, whose reputation continues to grow in the world of baroque opera, here conducts the world premiere recording of Judgement of Paris performed by the award-winning Early Opera Company, along with a stellar cast of soloists.
One of the earliest all-sung English operas, this one-act opera by John Eccles was composed in 1700 for a competition advertised in the London Gazette. Created by the ’Persons of Quality’, a group of nobleman headed by Lord Halifax, the purpose of the competition was an ambitious and worthy one, namely the development of all-sung opera in English.
The text came from William Congreve, widely accepted as one of England’s leading playwrights. Four composers took up the challenge and to the suprise of many, Eccles, the pre-competion favourite did not win, being beaten by John Weldon. However, of all the settings, Eccle’s best captures the atmosphere of the London stage of the time and as a composer has since come to be recognised as one of Purcells’s most gifted London contemporaries.