AFTER more than 35 years at the pinnacle of her profession, Salisbury-based opera singer Rosalind Plowright OBE has only now released her first recital CD.

It takes its title from one of the tracks, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, featuring Keats’ poem set to music by Charles Villiers Stanford, and the cover features a stunning Pre- Raphaelite painting of the subject by Sir Frank Dicksee, which hangs in Bristol Art Gallery.

The album with accompanist Philip Mountford was recorded over six sessions in the intimate setting of the Menuhin Hall at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, which is said to have one of the finest acoustics in the UK.

“There was no audience.

“It was literally just Rosalind, the pianist and the engineer,” said her husband Tony Kaye.

“It is an incredibly adventurous project, a format that leaves the voice nowhere to hide.

“Very few recording companies ever ask singers to make a recital CD.

“She just decided she was going to buck the trend.”

The disc’s 26 tracks take the listener on a musical journey through three centuries and six languages, reflecting Miss Plowright’s own eclectic taste.

Opening with Alessandro Stradella’s Pieta Signore, she moves through Brahms, de Falla and four pieces by Tchaikovsky to Kurt Weill, and a series of folk song arrangements by Benjamin Britten.

Tresco, by her father-in-law Ernest Kaye, is followed by Roger Quilter’s Love’s Philosophy, and the album finishes with Love Went a’Riding by Frank Bridge.

“There is something in there for everyone,” said Miss Plowright, who has lived in Salisbury since 1988.

“There is no theme whatsoever.

“These are songs that I just love singing, and that I feel really suit me.

“I didn’t learn them specially for the recording.

“I have given many recitals over the years so it was an accumulation: ‘These I have loved’.”