Opera in concert – Dido and Aeneas and Prima La Musica, Poi Le Parole

  • The List
  • 23 August 2007

This article is from 2007.

Opera in concert – Dido and Aeneas and Prima La Musica, Poi Le Parole

Jane Irwin heads up a vocal double bill

Opera at this year’s Festival has taken an interesting journey. The programme started with Bernstein’s Candide, chronologically the last of those heard, with Monteverdi’s glorious 400 year-old L’Orfeo hot on its heels. The latter was fully – and spectacularly – staged, while the former was a one-off concert performance that inevitably missed some of the more conventional theatrical ingredients.

While the final week brings a new, full-on Capriccio, concert performances of Dido and Aeneas and a largely unknown comic opera by Salieri (Prima La Musica, Poi Le Parole), are more suitable contenders than Bernstein for bringing a focus to the scores. For the first, with Jane Irwin (pictured) promising a powerful and emotive Dido, familiar music can be heard with fresh ears. A lack of distraction from the music in the second will allow audiences to hear Salieri’s version of the same debate about words and music that, rather neatly, is central to Strauss’ Capriccio. (Carol Main)

Usher Hall, 473 2000, 28 Aug, 8pm, £8–£37.

Dido & Æneas and Prima la Musica, Poi le Parole

Purcell's 'Dido & Aeneas' was the first operatic masterpiece to be written in England, and follows the love affair between Queen Dido and the Trojan prince Aeneas. The drama of the first piece contrasts with the light comedy of 'Prima la Musica... ', sung in Italian, where a poet and musician argue about their…

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