“To Die, To Sleep”

In his debut solo album, Canadian countertenor Michael Taylor explores the portrayal of sleep, death and madness in baroque opera. Featuring arias from Handel’s Orlando, Giulio Cesare and Tolomeo as well as works by Vivaldi and Graun, Michael is accompanied by “The Dansant”, a baroque ensemble consisting of some of Canada’s most talented young musicians performing on period instruments.


From the booklet notes:

“Our earliest surviving opera begins with a death. And ever since Jacopo Peri set the death of Euridice to music in a staged performance that would set the precedent for what we now call opera, the genre has littered stages across the centuries with countless corpses: on the whole, opera has an estimated mortality rate of about 66% based on Tranchefort’s survey in L’Opera – that is, somebody dies in two out of every three operas. It is perhaps not surprising that an art form whose founders sought to emulate Greet tragedy – with all its dramatic power and often shocking morbidity – should be somewhat preoccupied with death; culturally opera can be a vehicle for society to vicariously re-live heroic or tragic deaths at a near – but (usually) safe – distance…”


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