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Dido and Aeneas

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)


English   Deutsch  

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
01/05/1951
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London
Joan Cross, director
Conductor: Benjamin Britten
Company: English Opera Group


Roles

DIDO, Queen of Carthage Soprano
AENEAS, a Trojan Prince Tenor (or Baritone)
BELINDA, a Lady in Waiting Soprano
SECOND WOMAN Soprano
SORCERESS Mezzo Soprano
FIRST WITCH Mezzo Soprano
SECOND WITCH Mezzo Soprano
SPIRIT Soprano
FIRST SAILOR Soprano (or Tenor)
Courtiers, Witches and Sailors chorus

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, Literary, Mythology, Relationships


Recommended Recording

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

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Dido and Aeneas


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