Alfred Deller: Portrait of a Voice (1976)





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By any standard, operatic vocalist Alfred Deller (1912-79) retains enormous historical importance as the first significant countertenor in modern classical music. Born in Margate, England, in 1912, Deller came to attention rather late in life (at the age of 34), with a celebrated performance of Purcell's "Come, Ye Sons of Art, Away" on the radio in Britain. In successive years, he broke new ground via the formation of the Deller Consort, a group dedicated to performing period music using authentic performance practice. The launch of the Stour Music Festival gave him a platform to collaborate with such legends as Gustav Leonhardt and Franz Bruggen and evolved into one of the most esteemed of all classical festivals. Deller sustained the reputation attached to his performance itself via his light, delicate voice--a voice that would attain iconic status, especially in the years following his death; his interpretations of Handel and Britten, in particular, remain second to none. This biographical documentary by Benoît Jacquot tells Deller's moving and inspiring life story. It includes performances of "What Then is Love but Mourning?" "Have You Seen the White Lily Grow?" "From Rosy Bow'rs," and several other pieces.
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