Looking Back

Purcell/Eccles Dido & Aeneas 1700 directed by Jonathan Miller

An extensive tour of highly acclaimed performances to mark the 350th anniversary of Purcell's birth

Chelsea Festival * Buxton Festival * The Dome Brighton * Town Hall Birmingham * City Halls Glasgow * Cité de la Musique Paris * Concertgebouw Amsterdam * Philharmonie Luxembourg * Festspielhaus Bregenz * Congress Centre Innsbruck * Santiago de Compostela Via Stellae Festival * Teatro Pérez Galdós Las Palmas * Teatro Guimerá Tenerife * Philharmonic Hall Warsaw * Sopron Early Music Days


Jonathan Miller director
Eskandar costumes

Julia Gooding Dido
Michael George Aeneas
Joanne Lunn Belinda
Dana Marbach Peace
Faye Newton 1st Enchanteress
Revital Raviv 2nd Enchanteress
Christopher Robson Spirit
Mark Chambers Friend of Aeneas
Joseph Cornwell Mars
Andrew King Sailor
Simon Grant Sorceress
Mark Rowlinson Prologue

Dido & Aeneas by Damil Kalogjera
Reviews from the tour [excerpts]

Two years ago the New London Consort rocked the City Halls with their semi-staged performance of Monteverdi's Orfeo. This time they gave us Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, dramatised by Jonathan Miller and redrafted to include scenes reconstructed by Peter Holman that were lost after the composer's death. Additional re-scoring - in the manner of a late-17th-century theatre band - gave a distinctive edge to the performance, with recorders, trumpets, drums and snorting serpent. The effect emerged as a revealing addition to a dramatic concept neatly balanced between stylised antiquity and mildly anarchic twists. The witches appeared as hoodies with sneering Cockney twangs; the sailors danced to a brusque two-fiddle version of Purcell's hornpipe. In the manner of the time, and based on a known reappearance of the opera in 1700, introductory music led into a scene-setting Prologue, complementing the expanded Grove scene in which much more of Aeneas's dilemma became apparent. In such a context, the multi-tasking cast delivered a wealth of emotive performances.
The Scotsman

This perceptive staging by Jonathan Miller succeeded in gripping the attention in a way that more histrionic versions sometimes don't - and the precise tints provided by the instrumentalists at the side of the platform were part of the evening's success. Most of the sounds, including the warble of recorders, were soft-grained, but the addition of kettledrums for the stage effects was a notable bonus, as was the roughage of a serpent in the lower register. With a male-voice sorceress at the centre of a bunch of hoodies, and an Aeneas as statuesque as Wagner's Wotan, the performance had dramatic scope as well as some nice touches of comedy.
Glasgow Herald

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