Opera Scotland

Dido and Aeneas 2009New London Consort

Read more about the opera Dido and Aeneas

This was an interesting experiment in the performance history of Purcell's opera. It was fully staged, but with minimal scenery, and the small orchestra was placed on the left side of the wide stage.

Of greater importance was the edition used. This was descibed as a musical reconstruction by Peter Holman, devised and orchestrated by Philip Pickett with acknowledgment to Andrew Pinnock.

Under the title Dido and Aeneas 1700, this was a fascinating attempt to reconstruct a version performed after Purcell's death, with additional sections written by Charles Gildon and probably composed by John Eccles. This included an allegorical prologue for the characters of Mars and Peace, as well as an additional scene for Aeneas and his friends after the delivery of the Spirit's message.

Even if it is unlikely to catch on in regular performance, this was nevertheless a stimulating venture, well worth seeing. The extra content had the added advantage of preventing the need for management to find a suitable coupling - this opera could well stand alone.

Following the idea that the work was first composed and performed around 1684, at the time of the première of Blow's Venus and Adonis, it was decided that, with the exception of the three leads, Dido, Aeneas and Belinda, the solo roles would have been taken by members of the chorus, and choruses would have been sung with one voice to each part.

On this occasion, the new allegorical characters were taken by Mark Rowlinson (Prologue), Philip Salmon (Mars) and Dana Marbach (Peace). Friends of Aeneas were Mark Chambers, Andrew King and Philip Salmon. Choruses were sung by Faye Newton and Revital Raviv (sopranos), Christopher Robson and Mark Chambers (countertenors), Andrew King and Philip Salmon (tenors) and Simon Grant and Mark Rowlinson (bass-baritones).

Performance DatesDido and Aeneas 2009

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City Halls, Glasgow | Glasgow

19 Apr, 20.00

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