Editors’ Notes Henry Purcell’s semi-opera, premiered during the Restoration, was designed to inject a bit of pro-monarchist feeling back into London society. Lionel Meunier’s musicians are utterly captivating, revealing just how extraordinary the music must have sounded in 1691. Three moments are worth listening for—Act III’s “Frost Scene,” with its shivering voices and icy instrumentation, was revolutionary in its day and is chillingly performed here. In contrast, the raucously drunken song “Your Hay It Is Mow’d” sees Purcell at his most hilarious, and soloist David Lee is spellbinding. And in terms of sheer beauty, there are few opera arias that can match Purcell’s ravishing “Fairest Isle.”

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King Arthur, Z. 628, Act I
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King Arthur, Z. 628, Act II
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King Arthur, Z. 628, Act III
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King Arthur, Z. 628, Act IV
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King Arthur, Z. 628, Act V
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