Dido and Aeneas
Cork Opera House
But O’Brien doesn’t stop there: he also has the musicians — Marja Gaynor, Carolyn Goodwin, Ilse de Ziah and Piia Pakrinen — on stage throughout, weaving in and out of the action as they perform. By paring back the cast, O’Brien has created a production as tight as can be: over the course of an hour, there isn’t a single moment wasted.
This is as much a visual feast as it is a musical one. Lisa Zagone’s Gothic costumes are stunning, and no-one will forget the ‘baby’ the characters squabble over, which looks like something created for a horror movie. In the course of the production, Dido’s throne is first transformed into a bed, and then the prow of a ship. A series of what look like giant shards of glass hang over the stage, and at one point, a full moon looms in the background.
Purcell’s original score, from 1689, has been re-orchestrated by Marja Gaynor, who, true to the spirit of the production, plays violin, viola, autoharp and melodica. The singing throughout is flawless, with Cara O’Sullivan, in particular, being suitably regal.