Baker, Dame Janet, 1933–, English mezzo-soprano. She made her singing debut in 1956 with the Glyndebourne Chorus. In 1966 she made her American debut at Town Hall in New York City, winning critical acclaim for the sensitivity, style, and intelligence of her singing. Baker was for many years regarded as primarily an oratorio and lieder singer. However, in 1962 she took the lead role in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and then began a long association with the operas of Benjamin Britten. In 1969 she made a triumphal appearance as Dido in the Scottish Opera's production of Berlioz's The Trojans, repeating her performance at Covent Garden in London. Later she took leading roles in operas by Monteverdi and Cavalli. She retired in 1982. In 1991 she became chancellor of the Univ. of York, England.
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