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Henry Purcell was a genius whose ability to combine French and Italian influences transported the English language to new levels of expression in music. Dido and Aeneas was pioneering in its day and is considered one of Purcell’s foremost theatrical works, with a moving tale of love, betrayal and tragedy that has proved to be of unceasing appeal to audiences for centuries. Deborah Warner’s brilliant stage direction combines period colour with present-day dynamism, while William Christie’s affection for this opera shines through in an overwhelmingly acclaimed performance filmed in December 2008 at the Opéra Comique in Paris.
Deborah Warner’s wonderful stage direction of Dido and Aeneas was premiered in 2006 at the Wiener Festwochen before moving to the Opéra Comique in Paris in 2008 where this recording was made. The success of this production saw it staged again in 2009 both in Vienna and Amsterdam, as well as a reprise at the Opéra Comique in 2012.
The name of William Christie with the Orchestra and Chorus of Les Arts Florissants stands as a guarantee of quality in music of the Baroque period. Malena Ernman as Dido is another big draw for this release, having appeared not only as a star of the operatic stage but also as a representative of Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest, her profile further raised as mother of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Greta Thunberg.
- Dido: Malena Ernman (mezzo-soprano)
- Aeneas: Christopher Maltman (baritone)
- Belinda: Judith van Wanroij (soprano)
- Sorceress: Hilary Summers (mezzo-soprano)
- Second Woman: Lina Markeby (mezzo-soprano)
- First Witch: Céline Ricci (soprano)
- Second Witch: Ana Quintans (soprano)
- Spirit: Marc Mauillon (tenor)
- Sailor: Damian Whiteley (bass)
- Prologue: Fiona Shaw
Stage director: Deborah Warner
Set and costume designer: Chloe Obolensky
Picture format: HD 16:9
Sound format: PCM stereo and DTS Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean
Region code: A, B, C