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Venus & Adonis, opera (c.1683)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, René Jacobs


The blossoming of the English opera.
First performed before the court at Oxford in 1681, Venus and Adonis was presented as a “masque for the entertainment of the King” (Charles II). Like Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, it is in fact a true opera, totally successful in concept, original in musical content and moving in the characterisation of the protagonists. Borrowing the notion of the overture, the prologue and the instrumental dances from the French opera and juxtaposing them with the language of Italian music, Blow here created his masterpiece and one of the summits of 17th century English music.

This title was released for the first time in 1999.

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  • Rosemary Joshua
  • Gerald Finley
  • Robin Blaze
  • Clare College Chapel Choir
  • The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment



JOHN BLOW [1649-1708] · Overture (2'40) THE PROLOGUE · Cupid, chorus Behold my arrows and my bow (0'49) · Shepherds, Shepherdess Come shepherds all (1'59) · Cupid Courtiers there is no faith in you (0'47) · Chorus, Sherpherds, Shepherdess In these sweet groves (2'35) · Cupid's Entry (1'17) ACT I · The Act tune (1'33) · Adonis, Venus Venus! Adonis! (2'06) · Hunter's Music, Venus (1'09) · Adonis, Venus Adonis will not hunt today (2'27) · Huntsman, Adonis, chorus Come, follow the noblest game (2'33) · Entry: A dance by a Huntsman (1'01) ACT II · The Act tune (2'53) · Cupid, Venus You place with such delightful care (1'42) · Cupids, Little Cupids The Cupid's Lesson: The insolent, the arrogant (1'35) · Cupid Choose for the formal fool (1'37) · A Dance of Cupids (1'35) · Venus Call the Graces (0'52) · Chorus of the Graces Mortals below, Cupids above (1'27) · The Graces' Dance (1'18) · Gavatt (0'47) · Sarabrand for the Graces (1'36) · A Ground (1'39) · The Act tune (2'09)ACT III ·Venus, Adonis Adonis, uncall'd for sighs (5'06) · Venus With solemn pomp let mourning Cupids bear (2'26) · Chorus Mourn for thy servant (3'22)

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