The Cape Consort is proud to announce its first fully-staged opera, a production of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (1688). The Consort has joined forces with renowned theatre-maker Mari Borstlap for an exciting new rendering of this classical love story under the musical leadership of Hans Huyssen, with the same attention to historically informed musical performance which the Consort has become celebrated for over the past five years.
In this creative staging by Borstlap the story of a Carthaginian queen and her Trojan hero, an ancestor of Rome's founders, is transplanted to the present day. Dido is a mentally unstable young woman confined to the Carthage Asylum after the loss of her lover Aeneas, who has departed for Rome in pursuit of his career. Under the watchful eye of Belinda, matron of the asylum, Dido suffers terrible flashbacks of her lost love and horrible visions of the fateful forces that have overwhelmed her life. Distraught, Dido is pushed to the precipice, and her emotional turmoil culminates in the famous "Dido's Lament".
Dido and Aeneas is the Cape Consort's fifth appearance at the Fugard Studio. Previous productions – the four-part Monteverdi Project, which included a semi-staged version of John Blow's opera Venus and Adonis – were met by critical acclaim and performed to sold-out houses.
Music by Henry Purcell and libretto (in English) by Nahum Tate.
Stage direction and design by Mari Borstlap, and musical direction by Hans Huyssen.
With Lente Louw (Dido), Willem Bester (Aeneas), Elsabe Richter (Belinda), Nick de Jager (Sorceress), Antoinette Blyth (Handmaiden, Witch), and Riaan le Roux (bass).