Producers of opera certainly wish it, for they turn to Dido all the time, in every sort of production and circumstance. Dido, brief and elementary as it is, is a complete work, even “grand” (as William Christie suggests in this DVD’s supplemental film), in the range of emotions it takes us through, the completeness of the story we are asked to feel, the “Shakespearean” variation (as director Deborah Warner suggests in the same film) between heroic tragedy and madcap humor. Dido repays every sort of effort, from amateur to elitist.. John Yohalem
Performing Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas' is a task that has made conductors very curious - the many and varied recordings and performances of it prove it. The circumstances in which the work was originally performed is somewhat vague, the manner of performing Purcell generally is not very clear, the scores found are varied (no manuscript was ever found) and there are two missing parts - the prologue and probably a ballet or choir section at the end of the second act. I have heard several recordings of the work, however, I feel McGegan has done it in a way which sounds just right, as if this is how ot should have been done. First of all, the choice of basing the performance on a couple of the scores found seems to be appropriate, and in my opinion the right mix was done here. Lorraine Hunt makes a brilliant Dido, she has a very dramatic power mixed with a pure voice and a great sense of the time. Lisa Saffer is the most wonderfull Belinda I have ever heard, singing softly and sweetly and expressing the character very strongly.