Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)
born August 21, 1933
Dame Janet Baker, with Murray Perahia at the piano, sings Schubert's 'Who is Sylvia?' (in English) at a recital at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
A great English singer who excelled in opera, song and oratorio. She was closely associated with Sir John Barbirolli and Benjamin Britten (who wrote Phaedra for her), but also with Raymond Leppard with whom she rescued some major works of the Baroque including operas by Monteverdi and Cavalli. She was a sensitive and communicative recitalist and luckily recorded frequently.
Baker: a tribute by Christianne Stotijn
'Dame Janet Baker has confronted me with the deepest responsibility one has as a performing musician. Each time I have been privileged enough to meet her, she has inspired me to work from purity and honesty towards the music and meaning of a composer’s wishes.
'Singing for me has become more and more religious, developing a sense of ritual by focusing in the utmost concentration on the music only. Dame Janet has become an inner voice, helping and motivating me every day to never stop searching for the meaning and truth in everything I do, sing, or say.'
Janet Baker talks to Alan Blyth (Gramophone, October 1967)