Dido and Aeneas
Henry Purcell


Opera in three acts
composer: Henry Purcell
libretto:  Nahum Tate
first performance: 1689

conductor: Paul McCreesh
director: Annemarie Prins
set design: Fer Smidt
costume design: Fer Smidt
lighting design: Henk Kraayenzank
company: De Nieuwe Opera Academie
premiere: Kees van Baarenzaal, Den Haag, 15th March 1999


 

overture

 

 Act I 
'See, your royal guest appears'


 

Act 1
'Cupid only throws the dart'


 

Act II scene 1
'Wayward sisters, you that fright'


Act II scene 1
'Echo dance of the furies'


 

Act II scene 2
'Thanks to these lonesome vales'


Act II scene 2
'Stay, Prince and hear great Jove's command'

  Act III
'Carthage flames to-morrow'

Act III
'Your councel all is urged in vain'

 

 

Technical drawings

 

 

Act 1 Dido, queen of Carthage, appears surrounded by her court and attended by her lady-in-waiting, Belinda. Dido is unhappy and Belinda suggests it is the presence ofthe Trojan prince, Aeneas, which is at the root ofthe queen's sorrow. Belinda tells Dido that the prince does indeed love her, and that a union between the two would not only bring the queen the happiness she deserves, but Carthage would also benefit. Aeneas enters and proclaims his devotion to the queen, and the scene ends with Dido's acceptance celebrated by the whole court.

Scene 2 An evil Sorceress and her companions plot the destruction of Dido and Carthage. Meanwhile, Dido, Aeneas and followers are engaged in a hunt.

Act 2 The hunting group pause in the grove during the hunt, Belinda sings of the peculiar delights of the spot they have just reached. Suddenly Dido hears distant thunder and the party makes haste for town. Aeneas is stopped by the appearance of the God Mercury (really a witch in disguise) who tells him he must leave Carthage to found the new Troy on Latin soil. Aeneas accepts the God's commands, but dreads leaving Dido.

Act 3 AII is in preparation for the Trojan fleet's departure. The Sorceress appears, gleeful at the success of her plan, now she wants to destroy Aeneas. Dido and Belinda come down to the harbour, Dido fearful that Aeneas will abandon her. Aeneas tells her that he will defy and stay with her, but she will have nothing to do with alover who once thought of leaving her. After Aeneas leaves, the heartbroken Dido and attendants leave to prepare her farewell to life.