Happy 85, Dame Janet

Happy 85, Dame Janet


norman lebrecht

August 21, 2018

In a 2011 Lebrecht Interview with Dame Janet Baker, I warned colleagues that I was going to refer to her as ‘Dame Granite’ – her whispered nickname among awestruck singers who never saw her shocked or rattled.

‘You won’t dare,’ said the BBC producer.

So I did, and Janet simply shook with laughter. It was an icebreaker that enabled her to explore areas of her formative years that she had never spoken about before.

The Dame turns 85 today, wonderful and indomitable as ever.


The interview is (apparently) still available for download here.

One of these days I’ll put the whole series on Youtube.


  • Melisande says:


    Congratulations to Dame Janet Baker and an everlasting ‘Thank You’ for her great and committing artistry in the world of music.

    For those interested: see the link above!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Whole interview series on youtube? Yay!

  • Robert Roy says:

    My Janet Baker ‘moment’ was back in 1984 when she sang Mozart Arias with the (R)SNO under Sir Alexander Gibson. I was studying with a violinist in the Orchestra who let me ‘sit in’ the rehearsals at the Orchestra’s home, the Henry Wood Hall. Sitting quietly at the back I noticed Dame Janet arrive with her husband who, after introductions, came and sat a next to me.

    I’d just read her autobiography and was able to address him as Mr. Shelley – not Mr. Baker! He was delighted by this and insisted on introducing me to her after she had finished rehearsing, saying ‘This young man knew my real name!’

    She was delightful and happily signed my miniature score. A very nice memory.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Just an incredible artist. I saw give a recital in Vienna in early 1981 (don’t remember who the pianist was). She’s my favorite Mahler singer too.

  • Ted says:

    THE Orpheus of her generation.