To help celebrate yesterday's 80th birthday of one of Britain's finest singers, Neil Gillespie, a friend and admirer who sings in the Royal Opera House chorus, amassed together tributes from Dame Janet Baker's colleagues, as well as younger singers and conductors, for an anthology which Gillespie presented to her as a surprise present.
This photo of Dame Janet, looking more or less the same as she did when she made her last appearances on the stage in the 1980s, was taken by Gillespie for the cover of his anthology.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
Well – it WOULD be nice if this Anthology could be published!!
Unfortunately it won’t be published, there were only two copies made and that’s that. The people who have contributed include Pappano, Keenlyside, Barenboim, Terfel, Fleming, Gheorghiu, Burrows, Lott and many, many more, but they are very personal tributes, and Dame Janet is a very private lady.
Listening to her recording of the Elgar “Sea Songs” right now and once again reminded of her splendid interpretations of these wonderful songs. And, of course, there’s that incomparably warm and creamy voice!