Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists Cultural Centre Concert Hall Thursday, one night only Forty years after its founding, one of the world's great choirs and its renowned conductor finally made their Hong Kong debut this week. The recital by the Monteverdi Choir and its founder Sir John Eliot Gardiner - performing with sister instrumental group the English Baroque Soloists - was perhaps not the best that these musicians could offer, but was nevertheless a well-oiled presentation of wonderful English Baroque music. There were only two works: Henry Purcell's only opera, Dido and Aeneas, and incidental music from The Tempest by Purcell's student John Weldon. The Tempest was performed first, with smooth, billowy string sound and unobtrusive but lively continuo from the Soloists. When the choir entered, its clear articulation, purity of tone, natural phrasing and blending of voices were immediately appreciable. Some of the tapering dynamic changes were well-nigh perfect. But Dido and Aeneas was the highlight. Apart from Croatian mezzo-soprano Renata Pokupi?'s Dido, the rest of the cast were choir members. Pokupi?'s assertive, operatic style was clearly different from the other soloists', who sang more with an ensemble in mind. She sometimes overacted but could not give enough pathos in the last act, while her colleagues occasionally lacked expressiveness. Otherwise, the singing was very fluent and accomplished, especially Pokupi?, Ben Davies' Aeneas, Katharine Fuge's silvery-toned Belinda, and France Bourne's catty Sorceress. Throughout, Sir John held the performance together with dramatic precision.