Dido and Aeneas

Article excerpt

DIDO AND AENEAS

Purcell

Conceived and choreographed by Mark Morris. Mark Morris Dance Group, Lane, Braun, Monoyios, Saunders, Hall, Butterfield, Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Image Entertainment: ID8741CLDVD (1 DVD/56 minutes).

*****

This dance version of Henry Purcell's chamber opera Dido and Aeneas (1689) was conceived and choreographed by Mark Morris, one of the most imaginative and innovative figures in the world of dance. Directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, with stunning photography by Milan Pod sedly and inspired editing by Petra Valier, this 1995 Rhombus Media film features a stellar cast of international singers along with the Tafelmusik Orchestra (Jeanne Lamon, leader) and Tafelmusik Chamber Choir (Ivars Taurins, director).

Although under an hour in length, Purcell's unassuming little masterpiece is remarkable for the depth and eloquence of its expression. In the opera, Dido, the Queen of Carthage, has fallen in love with Aeneas, the Trojan prince. An evil Sorceress--who hates the Queen and all "in pros'prous state"--plots Dido's downfall by conjuring up a vision of Mercury, who orders Aeneas to leave Carthage immediately for Troy. After a painful farewell, Dido resigns herself to death.

Morris's vision of the opera is as much pantomime as dance. It is also controversial, in that he chose to perform both the roles of the Queen of Carthage and that of the Sorceress himself. …