Dido & Aeneas
Henry Purcell’s beloved opera in concert version
Tuuli Lindeberg, soprano (Dido)
Kajsa Dahlbäck, soprano (Belinda)
Juho Punkeri, tenor (Aeneas)
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
Justin Doyle, conductor
The Finnish Baroque Orchestra performs the favourite of Baroque operas, Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Known for his infallible sense for drama, the theatre master is famous for his stage music, but he only produced this one single through-composed opera. Based on Virgil’s epic, the opera tells the story of the Roman hero Aeneas that arrives in Carthage, where proud Queen Dido falls in love with the stranger in a fatal manner.
In the late 17th century England, culture was blooming after a strict Puritan era. The monarchy was reinstated, and Dido and Aeneas can in fact be interpreted as a political allegory for the newly wed royalties William and Mary. From this perspective, the piece functioned as a warning for the stability of the kingdom. The sorceress, who was added to the story, represents the evil external power. In the eyes of the contemporaries, this was the Catholic Church, which lured the ruler to abandon Dido, who symbolised Britain.
The sorceress manages to seduce Aeneas to leave Carthage and the queen by appealing to his sense of obligation. The abandoned Dido dies while singing her famous lament, which is one of the most memorable arias from the Baroque. In Dido’s heart-rending plea “remember me!” lays the secret to the popularity of Dido and Aeneas: Purcell was able to create characters who were not only mythical heroines and heroes, but incomplete humans. And the central character is definitely Dido. Her insecurity, enormous longing for love and inability to really allow anyone close to her, touches people deeply. Purcell, a skilled playwright, balanced the worry and the joy by enriching his opera with demonic sorcerers’ choirs, insolent sailors and enchanted storms.
Duration: 1 h 30 min (incl. intermission)
Petteri Pitko introduces the concert at the House of Nobility on April 27th from 6–6.30 pm and on April 29th from 5–5.30.