Dido & Aeneas

Concert version

Henry Purcell

04 Feb, 24

Musical conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev | Il Pomo d'Oro Orchestra & Choir

With a programme that includes Purcell's most famous opera and Carissimi's Jephte, Joyce DiDonato and Il Pomo d'Oro take to the stage of the Real again this year to perform Dido, Queen of Carthage. The American mezzo-soprano is one of the leading voices of her generation and one of the greatest of the moment with a worldwide reputation, having performed on such outstanding stages as the Metropolitan in New York, the Paris Opera and London's Covent Garden.

In his Heroides, the poet Ovidio created epistles for an illustrious list of abandoned women — among them, Penelope, Dido, Ariadna and, Medea, of course — who would have written to their respective and elusive   lovers. The fame of many of these heroines extended into the Baroque era through opera, inspiring one of its most sublime subgenres: the “aria de lamento”. The Lament of Dido in the opera Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell clashes with the enraged and resentful lover described by Virgil in the Aeneid. The composer preferred the compassionate portrait of Ovidio, one which shows Dido in the last moments of life as troubled by the sad memory she will leave among her people.

Premiered in 1689 in Mr. Josias Priest’s Boarding School for Girls, and probably conceived to be performed by the boarders of this London school, Dido & Aeneas has become one of the operas of its time to be most performed in our times. It is reinforced by the sensitive portrayal of its female protagonist — who reduces her antagonist to an antihero— and the immediacy, concision, and beauty of its score.

Tragic opera in three acts and a prologue

Music by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Libretto by Nahum Tate, based on his play Brutus of Alba or the enchanted lovers (1678) and book IV of Virgil's Aeneid (1st century BC).

Premiere at Mr. Josias Priest’s Boarding School for Young Ladies, Chelsea 

Premiere in concert version at the Teatro Real on 18 November 2013

Concert version

Musical conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev


Dido: Joyce DiDonato

Belinda: Fatma Said

Eneas: Andrew Staples

Spirit: Hugh Cutting

Second wife: Carlotta Colombo

Witch: Beth Taylor

Sailor: Massimo Altieri

First sorceress: Alena Dantcheva

Second sorceress: Anna Piroli



Music by  Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674)

Concert version

Musical conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev


Jephte: Andrew Staples

Daughter: Carlotta Colombo

Il Pomo d'Oro Orchestra & Choir



Synopsis of Dido & Aeneas

Basada en la relación amorosa entre la reina de Cartago, Dido, y el troyano Eneas, esta historia comienza cuando Eneas y su tropa naufragan en Cartago. Pero, por envidia a Dido, las brujas se confabulan y le hacen creer que su destino es refundar Troya e irse a hacerlo. Dido, se lamenta ya que no puede vivir sin su amor, sin embargo, cuando Eneas decide quedarse, ella lo rechaza, y se suicida. 

Por su parte, Jephté relata la historia bíblica del líder militar israelí que hace un voto imprudente a Dios y se ve obligado a sacrificar a su propia hija como consecuencia.  

Dido & Aeneas

Programa de mano

application/pdf 5.46 MB


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04 February 2024


Main Auditorium

Joyce DiDonato, Fatma Said, Andrew Staples, Hugh Cutting, Carlotta Colombo, Beth Taylor, Massimo Altieri, Alena Dantcheva, Anna Piroli
Subscription tickets F


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