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Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper / Wilfried Hosl
Bayerische Staatsoper 2001, Aron Stiehl, dir

Purcell - Britten

Dido and Aeneas (1689)

Duration: 50 minutes
Opera in three acts, edited by Benjamin Britten and Imogen Holst (1951, rev.1958-59)

Libretto by Nahum Tate (E,G)

Scoring
4S,S(orT),3M,T(orBar); chorus strings and continuo.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World premiere of version
5/1/1951
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London
Joan Cross, director
Conductor: Benjamin Britten
Company: English Opera Group

Roles

DIDO, Queen of CarthageSoprano
AENEAS, a Trojan PrinceTenor (or Baritone)
BELINDA, a Lady in WaitingSoprano
SECOND WOMANSoprano
SORCERESSMezzo Soprano
FIRST WITCHMezzo Soprano
SECOND WITCHMezzo Soprano
SPIRITSoprano
FIRST SAILORSoprano (or Tenor)
Courtiers, Witches and Sailorschorus


Time and Place
Carthage in ancient times


Synopsis

Queen Dido's lady-in-waiting Belinda attempts to cheer up the lovelorn queen: surely the Trojan hero Aeneas returns her love. Dido admits her infatuation, and Aeneas enters to renew his love-suit. Belinda and the chorus encourage Dido's acquiescence and predict a happy outcome. At their cave, however, witches plot Dido and Carthage's downfall. Their spirit, dressed as Mercury, will impress upon Aeneas the need for him to leave immediately and complete his destiny to found Rome as the new Troy. During a hunt, a storm sends Dido and the courtiers back to the city, but Aeneas is held back by Merurcy and submits to his commands. The following day, Aeneas's sailors prepare to leave port. The witches are thrilled, but Dido distraught and angry. Even Aeneas's offer to disobey the gods and stay does not move her: she rejects him. He leaves, and before taking her life she asks Belinda to remember her, but not her fate. The chorus calls on cupids to scatter roses on her tomb.


Moods
Romantic, Tragic


Subjects
History, Mythology, Relationships, Literary


Recommended Recording
Claire Watson/Peter Pears/English Opera Group/Benjamin Britten
BBC Legends BBCB 8003-2

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Items on Sale

Dido & AeneasStudy Score - Hawkes Pocket Score 728> Details
Dido & Aeneas(Vocal Score) (English, German)> Details
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