Please note that, due to unforeseen circumstances, soprano Golda Schultz has had to withdraw from the production. Isabelle Peters will be stepping into the role of Dido.
Errollyn Wallen’s new opera Dido’s Ghost – based on Purcell’s Baroque opera Dido and Aeneas (1689) – is set to receive its world premiere as part of Live from the Barbican next month, the London-based venue has announced.
Belize-born British composer, pianist and singer-songwriter Errollyn Wallen imagines what might have happened if the story of Dido and Aeneas didn’t end with Dido’s death. Her new opera, co-commissioned by the Barbican, Dunedin Consort, Mahogany Opera and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, is based on a tale by Roman poet Ovid, with a libretto by singer-songwriter Wesley Stace.
Set several years after the Carthaginian queen’s death, Dido’s Ghost finds Aeneas now living with his new wife Lavinia in the kingdom that he was destined to found. He welcomes Dido’s sister Anna as a shipwrecked refugee. Tragic events repeat themselves, however, when the ghost of Dido warns her sister that the jealous Lavinia harbours murderous intentions.
Dido’s Ghost presents the story of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, but from Aeneas’s perspective, rather than Dido’s. Performed on period instruments, this new opera bridges the gap between worlds, both musical and historical, to reflect on the long-ranging impact of Dido’s death. The piece complements Purcell’s original, which will also be performed in its entirety.
The cast includes South African soprano Golda Schultz as Dido, British bass-baritone Matthew Brook as Aeneas, British soprano Nardus Williams as Belinda, British bass-baritone Henry Waddington as the Sorcerer and Scottish mezzo-soprano Allison Cook as Lavinia. John Butt, music director of Dunedin Consort, conducts and Mahogany Opera’s Artistic Director Frederic Wake-Walker directs.
The production, which has been developed in partnership with Mahogany Opera, will be performed live to a socially distanced audience at the Barbican Hall on 6 June. It will also be available to stream up to 8 June. Tickets are available now from the Barbican’s website.
Soprano Golda Schultz stars as Dido in Errollyn Wallen’s new opera Dido’s Ghost.