The Israeli Opera is producing a new production of the baroque opera “Dido and Aeneas” by the greatest English baroque composer, Henry Purcell. For the first time, the Israeli Opera will be accompanied by the Barrocade Ensemble, the Israeli Baroque Orchestra, which specializes in performing music from this period and conducted by Eitan Schmeiser.
The Opera will be performed on June 2-6 at the Shlomo Lahat Opera House in Tel Aviv.
All the soloists in this production are Israeli: Anat Charney and Tal Bergman in the role of Dido, Oded Reich and Yair Polishuk as Aeneas, Daniella Skorka and Tal Ganor as Belinda, Guy Mannheim as the Witch and the Sailor together with Shiri Hershkowitz, Moran Abulof, Nitzan Alon, Maya Bakshansky and Yaniv D’Or.
The Israeli Opera is proud of this group of singers, most of whom began their artistic journey through the Meitar Opera Studio, the program for young singers at the Israeli Opera and who are now at the forefront of the operatic stage in Israel.
The opera tells the story of the intense love of Dido the Queen of Carthage and Aeneas, the Trojan prince who captures her heart and then leaves her to die alone in her despair. The opera contains virtuoso arias, the best known of which is Dido’s Death Lament, “When I am laid in earth” which has become a favourite in the repertoire of many major opera stars.
The opera libretto was written by Nahum Tate according to the fourth book of the Aeneid by the poet Virgil. The differences between the original text written by Virgil and Tate’s libretto sharpen the tragic dimension of the story: Originally, Aeneas is commanded to leave Dido by the gods, but in Tate’s version, the witches cause Aeneas to leave due to their hatred and envy of Dido. In addition, Dido’s suicide in the original story is replaced by death from a heartbreak as a result of Aeneas’ departure. These changes make the image of Dido human and fragile and deepen the ability to identify with her. The tragic romance, together with Purcell’s delicate and moving music, have made the opera Dido and Aeneas one of the most prestigious and beloved Baroque works.
In the Israeli Opera production, two Belgian directors, choreographers and designers Cecile Roussat and Julien Lubek will intensify the mythical dimension of the story through colourful and fantasy-oriented directing. They move the story to the realm of the sea with hypnotic underwater images of animal-human beings, and meta-physical visual design. This opera reflects the unique stage language of the two that combines theatre with the art of circus, pantomime and dance. The result is an original production that ignites the imagination and surprises each moment.
The Barrocade Ensemble specializes in baroque music and its members play authentic instruments, most of which were composed by the members of the ensemble themselves: Amit Tiefenbrunn constructs string instruments such as violins, violas, viola da gamba, viola and double bass. The Ensemble is a large and varied group composed of keyboard, strings, wind and percussion instruments, providing a rich and supportive platform for the singers as well as special, colour for the whole ensemble.