Dido and Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas Review by Harley Ryley

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Opera Warwick have certainly lived up to the reputation set by their previous production Cinderella with this lively and innovative performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. With a strong cast, a beautiful orchestra and simple but effective set, the performance provides a perfect little break from the stress of exams, or an even more perfect way to celebrate their end.

Particular mentioned needs to go to the choreographer, Cletus Chan, whose beautiful dance sequences linked the scenes with elegance and flair, as well as making this more than ‘just another opera’. The performers moved among the audience, allowing them to hear the perfectly pitched harmonies of the talented cast and to gain a more ‘involved’ feeling, particularly notable with the saucy entrance of the Sorceress, sung admirably by Rachel Houslin.

Though an hour is by no means enough time to develop the all-encompassing passion of Dido for Aeneas, Danielle Marsh, singing Dido, is utterly convincing, and her facial expressions, the changes in her the tone of her singing and her subtle movements are enchanting. Supported by her two women, sung beautifully by Giulia Boggiano and Alexa Tamsett, the audience truly believes the pain caused by Aeneas, the embodiment of ‘classical heart-throb’ as sung by Rory Carver.

This production has moments of comedy and tragedy, passion and despair, love and loss. Once again Opera Warwick has succeeded in bringing opera bang up to date, and the packed house on opening night was as much of a tribute to this wonderful production as the cheers and applause which greeted its end.

Go buy your tickets for it now, especially if you’ve never seen opera before! This is a perfect taste of the wonderful things that can be done with opera, and it’s an opportunity you do not want to miss! You’d be as mad as Dido is for Aeneas to miss out!

Dido and Aeneas runs until Sat 8 Jun at Warwick Arts Centre.