The Case Western Reserve University Department of Music will premiere a new and expanded semi-staged version of Henry Purcell's famous opera, Dido and Aeneas , on Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4, at 8 p.m. in Harkness Chapel, 11120 Bellflower Rd. The performances, stage-directed by Ellen Hargis and music-directed and choreographed by Julie Andrijeski, are free and open to the public, although tickets are required.
Based on a story from Virgil's Aeneid , the opera tells of the romance between Dido, the Queen of Carthage, and the Trojan refugee Aeneas. When he and his crew are shipwrecked in Carthage, he and the queen fall in love. However, he is called away to found Rome, and Dido then dies of a broken heart. With a cast that includes a scheming sorceress and her three conniving witches, as well as dancing sailors and courtiers, it's not surprising that this musical drama has remained popular since its debut in 1689.
Hargis, an internationally-acclaimed baroque singer, has been a Kulas Visiting Artist at Case Western Reserve University for the past nine years. She has sung baroque opera around the globe and attended the recent Grammy Awards, for the Boston Early Music Festival's production of Lully's Thésée, nominated for Best Opera Recording.
Musical direction and original choreography for Dido is by Julie Andrijeski, who has earned international renown for her virtuosic baroque violin playing and her exquisite baroque dancing. Having earned a D.M.A. in early music from Case Western Reserve, she is now on the university's music department faculty, directing the Case/Cleveland Institute of Music Baroque Orchestra and teaching courses in performance practice and baroque dance.
Recognizing that the original prologue to the opera has been lost, Hargis has expanded the opera to include an opening set of masques, setting the stage dramatically for the action that is to come. Through the clever use of other appropriate works by Henry Purcell, the cast will introduce the characters and the romance between Dido and Aeneas. This will be the world premiere of this new, expanded realization by Hargis.
The all-student cast includes graduate and undergraduate students from the university’s early music program, as well as other students from the university music department, the Case/CIM Baroque Orchestra, Andrijeski's baroque dance class and others.
Tickets to the performances are free, but must be obtained in advance through the music department office by calling 216-368-2400 or visiting 201 Haydn Hall, 11118 Bellflower Road. Harkness Chapel, 11200 Bellflower Rd., is wheelchair-accessible. For more information, call 216-368-2400.
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