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Last evening I watched the Richard Hickox (r.i.p.) movie production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.  Here’s a sample, the scene in which Dido overcomes her initial reluctance and accepts Aeneas’s marriage proposal:

I never, ever get tired of Purcell.  Thank Heaven (again) that we live in an age when his musick can be properly appreciated.  The whole thing is simply wonderfully done – lush, passionate, but, as you can hear, also loyal to the period.  Just goes to show what can be done when somebody is paying attention artistically.

Also, for those of you interested in that sort of thing, the plot revolves around the efforts of an evil sorceress to get Aeneas to quit Troy because she knows it will kill Dido.  The sorceress is accompanied by a gang of zombies.  Singing zombies, laughing zombies, but zombies nonetheless.  And it works, too.

As I say, the production is quite passionate and it’s also quite sensual.  The gels have been displaying a real interest in opera of late and I had considered running this off for them.  (In fact, we’re running off the old Peter Hall/Glyndbourne Festival production of Don Giovanni tonight.)  Probably just as well that I screened it first, as there are some, ah, risque bits.

Anyhoo, I would heartily recommend nipping over to Netflix and tossing this DVD into your queue.  (Indeed, I may go buy it myself.)

UPDATE:  Thinking of Dido and Aeneas has had this image running through my mind all morning:

Dido in DespairEntitled “Dido in Despair”, this is James Gillray’s 1801 caricature of the scandalous relationship between Lord Nelson and Emma, Lady Hamilton, which was looked on very unfavorably by quite a few people.   Not at all a kind cartoon.


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June 2009