While I’m at it in this mini-thread on the Aeneid, I might as well tip my hat to Henry Purcell and his Baroque-operatic interpretation of Dido’s death. But, more importantly, to Claus Guth.
Claus is a sort of de facto bigger cousin of mine. In 1992, I was spending the summer in Munich after college, where Claus was working on the equivalent of his Masters Thesis, or whatever they call it for opera directors. He had chosen to direct Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
So I joined up as stage crew. I don’t recall contributing anything remotely useful, although I do recall being mightily impressed with the whole scene and with Claus, even if I did not yet appreciate Virgil’s underlying story as I do now. (I think that picture above is of Dido on that stage.)
And what a career that production launched! The next time I saw one of Claus’s opera’s, it was in Salzburg, where he was opening the Festival with Mozart’s Idomeneo. And it’s gone straight up from there.
Which proves, once again, how timeless good storytelling such as Virgil‘s is, and how crucial it is to find the right stage crew. 😉
10 thoughts on “Viewing Dido & Aeneas in 1992, in sawdust”
Do you like opera? Or do you feel about it the way you feel about poetry?
Ahem, the latter.
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I feel that way too.
Joe introduced opera to Judge Blah and me about 20 years ago. Judge Blah loves opera and often tears up while listening to it. So does Joe. Then they yell “Bravo, Bravo…”
I will admit that the Sante Fe Opera House, an open air structure with a pristine view of the Santa de Cristo Mountains in view, does make the opera experience more enjoyable. Plus, I like the gift shop.
love your zest, Cheri. For professional reasons I’ve attended dozens of opera performances… enjoying maybe, just maybe, one or two. Poetry, mh… is a different ball game… Poetry is poetry is poetry.
I’m new to Hannibal’s blog. What is it with you and poetry, Andreas?
Welcome to the Hannibal Blog, Ana.
Poetry: I feel guilty about not being able to savor it more. (= opera)
Your cousin’s Dido’s death looks—from the picture—like a Bob Wilson staging.
I have to google Bob Wilson ….
I think I once heard that Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas was the first opera written in English. It’s stood the test of time amazingly well.
This is perhaps my favorite opera. We saw this opera performed many years ago at the Folger Library in Washington, DC. Indeed, it was the first successful English language opera. I love Baroque Opera, and like Judge Blah, I often become teary-eyed.
See? This is what makes me feel in adequate.
Mind you, I was teary-eyed too. But probably because of the sawdust….