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When I Am Laid In Earth voted UK's favourite aria

15th June 2010

The BBC Radio 3 Nation's Favourite Aria title has been won by an English piece, seeing off competition from works from Italy, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

'When I Am Laid In Earth', which was written by Henry Purcell for Dido and Aeneas, took the top spot in the poll. The aria is performed at the end of the opera, when Carthaginian queen Dido throws herself onto a funeral pyre.

Sara Mohr Pietsch, presenter on Radio 3's Breakfast programme, said it is 'touching' that an English aria was able to stand up to strong competition from Italian pieces.

'Purcell's music gives us access to the heart of a proud queen in the final minutes of her life, one of those rare and beautiful moments when every listener is on the edge of their seat,' she added.

Mozart's 'Dove Sono' from the Marriage of Figaro took second place in the poll, followed by 'Liebestod' from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Puccini's 'E Lucevan Le Stelle' from Tosca and 'Casta Diva' from Bellini's Norma completed the top five.

Last Sunday (June 13th), Radio 3 cleared its schedule to broadcast more than ten hours of live music from over 400 BBC musicians spread across six cities.

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