Tag Archives: dido and aeneas

Dido and Aeneas review

Dido and Aeneas 

Cork Opera House

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Henry Purcell can never have imagined how his opera Dido and Aeneas would be re-invented by director John O’Brien in this daring production, first presented at Cork Opera House in February 2011.

O’Brien has Cara O’Sullivan play Dido and her mirror image, the Sorceress, Simon Morgan play Aeneas, the Sailor and the Spirit, and Majella Cullagh and Mary Hegarty double up as Sharon and Belinda and the Witches. 

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. 

Dido and Aeneas

Having a great time preparing for this. Don’t miss!

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I8aF_75Kq4′]

Cork Opera House presents
Cara O’Sullivan Majella Cullagh Mary Hegarty in Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell

Directed by John O’Brien

Arranged by and featuring Marja Gaynor (strings)
with Carolyn Goodwin (winds), Ilse De Ziah (strings) & Piia Pakarinen (accordian)

And with Brendan Collins as Aeneas

Choreography by Inma Moya Pavon
Costume Design by Lisa Zagone
Set Design by John O’Brien
Lighting Design by Michael Hurley

For the very first time Cork’s International Stars Cara O’Sullivan, Majella Cullagh and Mary Hegarty will perform on the operatic stage together in Henry Purcell’s exquisite masterpiece Dido and Aeneas.

The 1689 Baroque work is given a stunning new arrangement involving elements of jazz, gypsy and tango and is set in a fantastical gothic world.

This one-hour opera, based on the Roman poet Virgil’s tragic story of Queen Dido and her Trojan lover, Aeneas, was one of the first operas written and performed in English.

In this new production, each of the four singers also plays their principal character’s subconscious other self – a concept which heightens the emotional and sexual tension created by the passion of hidden desires.

The new orchestration will be created by Baroque and contemporary music specialist and violinist, Marja Gaynor for a quartet of multi-instrumentalist musicians.

Dido and Aeneas offers a top-quality, not to be missed artistic experience for adults and an engaging introduction to opera for teenage audiences.

Performance Schedule
Tues 8 Feb – 8pm
Wed 9 Feb – 8pm
Thurs 10 Feb – 1.30pm & 9pm

Tickets: €20
Concession Tickets Available: €15
School Group Tickets: €12
Limited Early Bird €15 Tickets Available