Overview


Synopsis

Based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dido and Aeneas is Purcell’s only true opera, and his first composition which was written to be sung throughout. Having its first performance at the Josias Priest’s Boarding School for Girls in 1687, it is the perfect opera for student casts, as many of the vocal ranges are narrow and the voice-types are particularly flexible.

Dido, the queen of Carthage, falls in love with Aeneas, the Trojan prince, whilst offering him safe harbour on his journey home. A Sorceress, who hates Dido, plots to separate them by creating a storm and sending one of her servants, disguised as Mercury, to urge Aeneas to return home straight away, forsaking Dido. Aeneas readies his sailors and lets Dido know he must leave. Dido cannot bear losing him and kills herself, after offering one of the most famous English arias, Dido’s Lament (“When I am laid in earth”). In true Baroque style, the action is delivered in short recitative sections interspersed with songs, choruses, and dances.


Characters

Female

Lead

Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano

Male

Lead

Tenor, Baritone

Female

Supporting

Soprano



Show Information

Libretto
Category
Number of Acts
3 Acts
First Produced
1687
Settings
Multiple Settings
Time & Place
Carthage, Ancient Times
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Small
Dancing
Some Dance
Licensor
None/royalty-free
Ideal For
All-Female Cast, College/University, Mostly Female Cast, Professional Opera
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult characters

Video Clips

See All Videos


Half-Price Ticket Hot Sellers