Composer: Henry Purcell
Performer: Sarah Connolly, Gerald Finley, Lucy Crowe, Patricia Bardon, William Purefoy, Sarah Tynan, John Mark Ainsley, Carys Lane, Rebecca Outram
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Conductor: Elizabeth Kenny, Steven Devine
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 1.21 GB
Dido and Aeneas
02. Act I: Shake the cloud from off your brow (Belinda, Chorus)
03. Act I: Ah! Belinda, I am press’d with torment (Dido)
04. Act I: Grief increases by concealing (Belinda, Dido, Chorus)
05. Act I: Whence could so much virtue spring? (Dido, Belinda, 2nd Woman, Chorus)
06. Act I: See, your Royal guest appears (Belinda, Aeneas, Dido, Chorus)
07. Act I: Cupid only throws the dart (Chorus)
08. Act I: If not for mine, for Empire’s sake (Aeneas, Belinda)
09. Act I: Guitar Chaconne
10. Act I: To the hills and the vales (Chorus)
11. Act I: The Triumphing Dance
12. Act II: Wayward sisters (Sorceress, 1st Witch, Witches)
13. Act II: The Queen of Carthage, whom we hate (Sorceress, Chorus)
14. Act II: Ruin’d ere the set of sun? (Witches, Sorceress, Chorus)
15. Act II: In our deep vaulted cell (Chorus)
16. Act II: Echo Dance of Furies
17. Act II: Ritornelle
18. Act II: Thanks to these lonesome vales (Belinda, Chorus)
19. Act II: Guitar Passacaille
20. Act II: Guitar Dance: Oft she visits this lone mountain (2nd Woman)
21. Act II: Behold, upon my bended spear (Aeneas, Dido) – Haste, haste to town (Belinda, Chorus)
22. Act II: Stay, Prince! and hear great Jove’s command (Spirit, Aeneas)
23. Act II: Groves’ Dance: Then since our charms have sped (Chorus)
24. Act III: Come away, fellow sailors (1st Sailor, Chorus)
25. Act III: See, the flags and streamers curling (Sorceress, 1st and 2nd Witches)
26. Act III: Our next motion (Sorceress)
27. Act III: The Witches’ Dance
28. Act III: Your counsel all is urg’d in vain (Dido, Belinda, Aeneas)
29. Act III: Great minds against themselves conspire (Chorus)
30. Act III: Thy hand, Belinda; darkness shades me (Dido)
31. Act III: With drooping wings ye cupids come (Chorus)
Chandos’ featured release is a new recording of the first English operatic masterpiece, Purcell’s tragedy Dido and Aeneas. Starring Sarah Connolly, Gerald Finley, with the Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment, it is released to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Purcell’s birth.
Directed from the keyboard by Steven Devine and Elizabeth Kenny as in recent concert performances, the ensemble presents the opera in a version that incorporates other dance works by Purcell.
There have been two revolutions in scholarly thinking about Dido and Aeneas and both had serious implications for historically inclined performers, and demand a creative response today. The musicological backdrop to this recording results in a performance closer to the court entertainment of Purcell’s day, in which musical dramas evolved from the English theatre tradition.
Sarah Connolly, the quintessential Dido of the early twenty-first century, has been the driving force behind this recording. She writes of the project, ‘It seems I have known Purcell’s Dido all my life and feel able to express myself in this music like no other… As a character, Dido fascinates me to the point of obsession’.
Connolly has performed with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on many occasions, including two productions at Glyndebourne – Giulio Cesare and St Matthew Passion – as well as Dido and Aeneas at the Proms, the South Bank Centre and Tetbury Festival. One recent review of Connolly’s Dido had the following to say: ‘It was the sheer depth of emotion Connolly infused in her portrayal of Dido that was truly remarkable. Emotion flowed off the stage from the intensity in her voice and through her actions. Her final aria, one of the most beautiful in English baroque music, brought a tear to the eye in a hall so quiet you could hear a pin drop… a moving portrayal of this tragic heroine’ (MusicalCriticism.com).
This impressive performance by an extraordinary group of musicians makes for a significant addition to the catalogue.
Sarah Connolly and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will perform Dido and Aeneas at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in March 2009.