Opera Memphis produced Henry Purcell‘s Dido and Aeneas on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, 2015.

Read an online version of the opera’s libretto by Nahum Tate (better known today for his 1681 revision of King Lear): 1889 edition; Stanford text. Scan an essay on “Mr. Purcell’s Journey,” “Tate and Purcell’s Characterization of Dido” or “Dido and Aeneas in Text and Music.” Survey an overview of 18th Century Opera from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

View a recording of Dido and Aeneas: with Maria Ewing; with Jessye Norman; 2001 French production.

Dido’s lament:

When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create

No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;

Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

This famous aria circulates far beyond the opera, sung by the likes of Klaus Nomi and Jeff Buckley. The aria was discussed by Mr. Turner actor Timothy Spall (19:40);   invoked in Mark Behr‘s novel The Smell of Apples (1995); and performed in the BBC’s 1998 version of Vanity Fair. Listening guide.

In 1989, Mark Morris choreographed an extraordinary dance set to Purcell; Joan Acocella interviewed Morris in 2009; Sophia Preston offers a critical analysis.

In 2014, Ann Allen produced a jazz-baroque version, called Play it Again Dido.

Opera Memphis General Director Ned Canty, stage director Jesse Koza, Rhodes College Professor Vanessa Rogers, and Curb Institute program manager John Bass  visited our seminar to share their expertise on the staging, libretto, and music of this opera.


submerged dancers in an onstage aquarium for choreographer Sasha Waltz‘s “majestic remaining of Purcell’s great romantic tragedy” (2014)

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