Oberlin Conservatory's Historical Performance Department joins forces with Case Western Reserve University in April for a historically informed production of Henry Purcell's tragic opera Dido and Aeneas. The hour-long piece, based on Book IV of Virgil’s ancient epic poem Aeneid, has evolved into one of the most iconic operas in British history.
Dido and Aeneas will be performed at Oberlin’s Fairchild Chapel (inside Bosworth Hall, 50 W. Lorain St.) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16. A 3 p.m. matinee will take place Sunday, April 17, at Cleveland's Harkness Chapel (11200 Bellflower Rd.) on the Case campus. Admission to all performances is free.
Written in 1680, the opera recounts the love story between Queen Dido of Carthage and the Trojan warrior Aeneas, who abandons his lover when witches intervene. The production is made possible by Jason Goldberg, a fifth-year student at Oberlin who has produced and directed the opera as his final project toward a rare independent major in opera directing.
"The more I researched the work, the more I wanted to do a historically informed version of this masterpiece because the story’s themes of love lost, honorable intentions, social pressures, and base desires are all very relevant today,” says Goldberg, who also majors in voice performance. “Incorporating Baroque gesture and stylized movement into the production allows the opera to live in its natural setting and highlights its drama and themes."
The production features a cast of Oberlin vocal performance majors as well as dancers from Case Western Reserve University's Baroque Dance Ensemble in numbers choreographed by Case instructor Julie Andrijeski. Nicholas Capozzoli, who is pursuing a master of music in historical performance at Oberlin, serves as harpsichordist and music director, leading an ensemble of Oberlin Conservatory student instrumentalists who will perform on Baroque instruments.
To learn more, read ClevelandClassical’s feature story about the production.