Dido's Ghost

Sun 11 - Sat 17 July 2021

Errollyn Wallen (b.1958)
Henry Purcell (1659–1695)

A new opera incorporating Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas

Buxton International Festival co-commissioned production in partnership with the Barbican Centre, Mahogany Opera, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, Edinburgh International Festival and Dunedin Consort.

The story of Dido and Aeneas did not end with Dido’s death. This new opera by Errollyn Wallen takes the story forward, interweaving a full performance of Purcell’s great tragedy, within this imaginative new partner piece.

‘Remember me, but ah! Forget my fate’, sings Dido at the end of Purcell’s opera. But life is not quite as easy as that, and some memories have a destiny of their own. Set several years after the Carthaginian queen’s death, Dido’s Ghost tells the story of Aeneas’ tragic meeting with Anna, Dido’s sister. She arrives shipwrecked on the shores of his new kingdom, just as he had once found himself stranded in Carthage. Anna’s arrival ignites a murderous jealously in Aeneas’s wife Lavinia. As events play out, its characters confront a past that refuses to fade.

Errollyn Wallen’s new opera, based on a story in Roman poet Ovid’s Fasti, embraces and complements Purcell’s original, which is performed in its entirety as the centrepiece of a drama that is both old and new. Performed on the period instruments of the Dunedin Consort, past blurs into present and memory becomes emotion in this ambitious and poignant new commission.

Libretto by Wesley Stace. Sung in English with side-titles.

Creatives & Cast

John Butt Conductor

Frederic Wake-Walker Director

Anna Jones Designer

Ben Pickersgill Lighting Designer


Idunnu Muench Dido/Anna

Matthew Brook Aeneas

Nardus Williams Belinda

Jessica Gillingwater Spirit/Lavinia

Tim Dickinson Sorcerer/Elymas


Dunedin Consort

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