Bridgewater's Very British Affair ; CLASSICAL MUSIC

Manchester Evening News, May 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

Bridgewater's Very British Affair ; CLASSICAL MUSIC


THE last of the Bridgewater Hall's international concert series for 2014-15 is on June 7, and it's a very British affair. The New London Consort, one of the hall's group of 'associate artists', are presenting a double bill - Venus And Adonis by John Blow (written around 1682), and Dido And Aeneas by Henry Purcell (written around 1684). Venus And Adonis is often considered the first English opera, though the term didn't exist then - it was called a 'masque for the entertainment of the king' (Charles II). Actress and discarded royal mistress Moll Davis took the role of Venus, while her daughter by the king, Lady Mary Tudor, played Cupid.

The book is thought to have been written by a maid of honour to the Duchess of York. It's the traditional story (Venus loves Adonis, he gets killed by a wild boar), but ends with Venus in despair, as she sent her lover to his death by insisting he go hunting. Dido And Aeneas, by Purcell - the greatest English composer of the late 17th century - is now thought to have been written soon afterwards and also performed for Charles II. Its words are by Nahum Tate, the man who wrote While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night. …

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