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OperOttawa Presents Dido and Æneas

Just a reminder that not only is this happening, Andrew from Classical Ottawa is in the chorus!

On Sunday March 5, 2017 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church (corner of Elgin and Laurier) Ottawa’s relatively new opera company OPEROTTAWA will present English composer Henry Purcell’s opera “Dido & Aeneas” in concert format.

The libretto is by Nahum Tate, after his play Brutus of Alba and Virgil’s Aeneid. The first performance took place at Josias Priest’s school in Chelsea, London, around December 1689, with a possible earlier performance as a court masque in 1684.

Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, entertains the Trojan Prince Aeneas, shipwrecked on his way to Italy, where he will found a new Troy. Dido and Aeneas are in love. Witches plot Dido’s destruction and the Sorceress conjures a storm, to break out when the royal couple are hunting, and the impersonation of Mercury by one of her coven. The storm duly breaks and the courtiers hasten back to town, while the false Mercury tells Aeneas he must leave Dido and sail for Italy. Aeneas and his sailors prepare to leave, to the delight of the witches. Aeneas parts from Dido, who kills herself once he has gone, her death lamented by mourning cupids. Most famous of all elements in the opera is Dido’s lament, When I am laid in earth, with its descending ground bass.

OperOttawa’s artistic director Norman E. Brown has put together an outstanding cast featuring professional and semi-professional Ottawa-based singers. Singing the title role of Dido, Queen of Carthage, is mezzo-soprano Sonya Sweeney. Her ill-fated amour Aeneas, a Trojan prince, is sung by baritone Norman E. Brown. Belinda, Dido’s confidante and best-friend is sung by soprano Cara Gilbertson-Boese and the Second Woman, also good friends with Dido and Belinda, is sung by soprano Naomi Eberhard. On the darker side of the musical equation are the Sorceress, sung by mezzo-soprano Carole Portelance, and the two witches sung by soprano Misty Banyard and mezzo-soprano Jean-E Hudson. The Sailor is sung by tenor Antonio diRienzo. The opera is accompanied on piano by Frederic Lacroix. In addition, several local singers will sing in the opera as the chorus.

Operottawa is a relatively new opera company based in Ottawa and founded by Norman E. Brown. Now in its third year Operottawa produces one opera per season in concert format utilizing the talents of young up-and-coming singers from Ottawa and semi-professional and professional singers from across Canada. “Dido & Aeneas” will be the fourth production. Previous shows include “Giulio Cesare” by Handel in 2016 with performances in Ottawa and Toronto: and Handel’s opera “Acis & Galatea” in 2014 and a sold out Opera Gala in 2015. Next season OperOttawa will be producing an abridged performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in late November 2017, and in the spring of 2018 Menotti’s opera “the Medium”.

Tickets for “Dido & Aeneas” are $20 each and will be available at the door or from cast members.

Andrew from Classical Ottawa is featured in the chorus of this opera. You can contact him for tickets also.

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