DIDO AND AENEAS
Music by Henry Purcell
Libretto by Nahum Tate
A Site-Specific Production – Outdoors, Under the Stars
Presented in Partnership with the National Museum of Dance
Opera Saratoga is thrilled to present the first Baroque opera in the company’s history in a truly unique production under the stars! One of the earliest English operas, Dido and Aeneas is one of Purcell's foremost theatrical works. This heartbreaking opera recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero, Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. The combination of exquisite vocal music and extensive use of dance has inspired many interpretations of the great score. Opera Saratoga has invited world-renowned choreographer and director Karole Armitage to create a very special site-specific production for Saratoga Springs that embraces the natural beauty and history of The National Museum of Dance located in Spa State Park. The production, conducted by Nicole Paiement in her Opera Saratoga debut, will feature Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano as Dido, along with the exquisite dancers of the ArmitageGone! Dance Company in what is sure to be one of the most talked about productions of the summer for dance and music lovers alike.
PLEASE NOTE: On performance dates, the online and telephone box office closes for DIDO at 5:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased on day of performances from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at The National Museum of Dance in person, based on availability.
All tickets include admission to the wonderful exhibits at The National Museum of Dance, beginning at 7:00 PM. Seating is general admission, with seating beginning at 7:45 PM for the performance beginning at 8:15 PM.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a unique production, being staged on a specially constructed stage, outdoors, at the National Museum of Dance. Because the weather is unpredictable, for every performance date we have also scheduled two “rain dates.” Ticket holders will receive information about notification procedures in the event that their performance needs to be postponed due to inclement weather. In the event that the performance must be temporarily postponed, your ticket will be honored on the specific rain dates indicated here. We are not able to provide a refund in the event that your performance date shifts due to weather. We recommend you hold not only your performance date, but also the rain dates indicated for that performance date, to ensure that you are able to attend this unique production.
The National Museum of Dance
99 South Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
CAST AND CREATIVE
* Member of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Director and Choreographer: Karole Armitage
Scenic Designer: Garret Wilson
Costume Designer: Peter Speliopoulos
Lighting Designer: Jeff Bruckerhoff
Surrounded by the attendants in her court, Dido, Queen of Carthage, is inconsolable. Her handmaiden, Belinda, tries desperately to cheer her up, but Dido is depressed, saying that she and peace are nothing more than strangers now. Belinda suggests to Dido that finding love will cure her grief, and recommends marrying Aeneas, a Trojan who has shown interest in her. Dido fears that falling in love will make her a weak ruler, but Belinda points out that even great heroes find love. When Aeneas enters Dido's court, Dido still has reservations and greets him coldly. But eventually, her heart warms up to him, and she accepts his marriage proposal.
Deep within a cave, an evil sorceress crafts a plan to bring destruction and calamity to Carthage and its queen, Dido. She calls in her apprentices and divulges her evil plot with instructions for each of them to carry out and execute. Her most trusted elf will disguise himself as the god Mercury in order to tempt Aeneas into leaving Dido. She knows that Dido would be so grief-stricken, she would die brokenhearted. A group of witches carefully listen to the sorceress and cast a spell to bring a severe thunderstorm that will interrupt Dido and her hunting party as they rest in a peaceful forest grove.
Dido and Aeneas, along with their hunting party, stop within a forest grove to rest after spending most of the day hunting. Belinda orders the servants to prepare a picnic for the royal couple using the game that was hunted earlier. As preparations are made, Dido hears thunder rolling in from the distance. Belinda immediately halts the hustle and bustle of the servants and orders them to pack up so that they can make it back to shelter before the storm arrives. After everyone leaves the grove, Aeneas stays behind to admire the grove's beauty. He is approached by the evil elf disguised as Mercury. Mercury instructs him that he must depart Carthage immediately and set sail to Italy in order to establish a new city of Troy. Believing the word of a "god," Aeneas obeys Mercury's command despite feeling remorse for having to leave Dido behind. After their conversation, Aeneas heads back to the palace to make his departing arrangements.
A fleet of Trojan ships are being prepared by Trojan crewmen. Not long after, the evil sorceress and her apprentices appear to monitor their plan’s progress. They are quite pleased to learn that they have been successful. The sorceress announces the next step in her evil machinations: Aeneas’s ship will meet its doom while sailing on the ocean. The evil beings laugh in merriment and join one another in a dance.
Back at the palace, Dido and Belinda are unable to find Aeneas. Dido is overcome with dread. Belinda, to no avail, tries her best to console her. When Aeneas arrives, Dido voices her suspicions about his absence. Aeneas confirms, but tells her he will defy the gods and stay with her. Dido rejects him, unable to forgive his transgression against her. He was willing to leave her, and despite his resolution to stay with her now, she cannot accept it and orders him to leave. Dido's grief is too great, and she knows she will never recover. She gives in to fate's cruelty and resigns herself to die. In the passing moments, Dido gives in to death, and once departed, roses are scattered at her grave.