AAM Concerts

Weldon's The Judgment of Paris (1701)
AAM and Cambridge Handel Opera Company present another English opera masterpiece following their award-winning co-production of Eccles’ Semele.

Between The Way of the World and his libretto for Semele, William Congreve wrote the libretto of a one-act masque on the famous classical story of the contest between three goddesses for the award of a golden apple by Paris, prince of Troy – a judgment that led to the Trojan War.

The libretto was itself designed for a contest, a musical one, with cash prizes, handsomely sponsored by a group of aristocrats. John Weldon, organist of New College Oxford, was the youngest finalist. Unexpectedly, his setting  – which improves on Congreve’s libretto ­– won first place in the ‘Musick Prize’, triumphing over the more conservative submissions by the three older and more experienced finalists, John Eccles, Daniel Purcell, and Gottfried Finger.

Weldon had studied with Purcell, and was one of his most talented followers. In The Judgment of Paris he combines elements of Purcell’s style with attractive features of modern Italian opera, a kaleidoscopic variety of forms, vivid instrumental dialoguing, bravura coloratura for the soloists, charming choruses (in up to six parts) and not a few flashes of wit, suggesting how successfully English opera could have developed had Italian opera not annexed elite fashion.

Weldon’s unjustly neglected masque has had only one professional performance since the eighteenth century and there is no recording – an injustice that CHOC and AAM will resolve with a splendid group of performers.

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Sat 28 Oct
 | 7.15pm
Trinity College Chapel
Cambridge
Tickets: 
£35, £24, £10
01223 357851
Programme
John Weldon (1676–1736)
The Judgment of Paris (1701)
Performers
Anna Dennis
Venus
Kitty Whately
Pallas
Helen Charlston
Juno
Thomas Walker
Mercury
Jonathan Brown
Paris
Anna Cavaliero
Attendant 1
Aksel Rykkvin
Attendant 2
Academy of Ancient Music
Julian Perkins
director
Anna Dennis
Kitty Whately
Helen Charlston
Thomas Walker
Jonathan Brown
Anna Cavaliero
Aksel Rykkvin
Academy of Ancient Music
Julian Perkins
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