Dame Janet Abbott Baker(1933-), Singer
Sitter in 12 portraits
One of the leading mezzo-sopranos of her generation, equally renowned for her opera, oratori and recital performances. Baker made her operatic debut in 1956, and from the mid 1960s appeared at Glyndebourne and Covent Garden with the English Opera Group. She sung the title role in The Rape of Lucretia on tour in Russia (1964), and the role of Kate Julian in Owen Wingrave (1967) was created for her. Baker sang pieces from Britten's early operetta, Paul Bunyan at the 1974 Aldeburgh Festival, and the following year her performance in Berlioz's cycle Nuit d'été was a festival highlight. As a result Britten was inspired to write for her the dramatic cantata Phaedra (1975).
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below