Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

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Artist Hyperion Records
Baker, Dame Janet (mezzo-soprano)
© Wihe Evans
Dame Janet Baker receiving
a Gramophone Award from
Dame Gwyneth Jones for her
Schubert recording with
Graham Johnson.

Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)

Mezzo-soprano Janet Baker’s early interest in music was so keen that before she received her first piano as a young teenager, she often listened to the radio and “played” a large Victorian sideboard in her parents’ house. Thus the English singing sensation Dame Janet Baker—she was named commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1970 and dame commander six years later—began her training. Prior to her retirement in 1982, Baker was an acclaimed master of both opera and lieder (nineteenth-century German art songs for vocals and piano) for more than 30 years. Her singing talent was first recognized back in the early 1950s, when she was barely 20 years old. She won various local competitions in northern England, and her choral singing was praised in the Yorkshire press. The daughter of an engineer, she enjoyed a middle-class upbringing and a supportive family circle. When she quit her full-time London bank job to pursue her training—not knowing what the result would be—her family helped her out financially. Baker began singing at weddings and funerals while working part-time as a receptionist. She auditioned for the BBC in 1955 and was soon singing on the radio. In 1957 Baker made an operatic appearance as Roza in the Smetana's The Secret. She took master classes in London with the well-known Lotte Lehmann and studied English and French songs with Meriel St. Clair. Complete emotional identification with her roles, many of which she recorded, and a rich, expressive and flexible voice enabled Janet Baker to excel in florid as well as dramatic music.


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