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Purcell Dido and Aeneas

From 03 November TO 20 November 2019
Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin

Purcell : Dido and Aeneas

  • Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
  • Vocalconsort Berlin
  • Sasha Waltz & Guests
  • Conductor
    Christopher Moulds
  • Director
    Sasha Waltz
  • Performers
    Dido: Marie-Claude Chappuis
    Aeneas: Nikolay Borchev
    Belinda: Aphrodite Patoulidou
    Sorceress: Yannis François
    Second Woman: Luciana Mancini
    First Sorceress: Ziad Nehme
    Second Sorceress: Michael Smallwood
  • Choreographe
    Sasha Waltz
Details on the Performance

The setting is Carthage, in ancient times: the hero Aeneas flees from burning Troy and arrives in North Africa via the Mediterranean Sea with his fleet of ships, where he meets the beautiful queen Dido. They are lovestruck – and yet fail to bond because of fate’s intervention. Aeneas continues on his journey to form a new kingdom in Italy, while the abandoned Dido is left no alternative but to stay.

Henry Purcell composed his one »genuine« opera in 1689, a work that stood out for its musical ingenuity. Virgil’s epic story of the hero and Carthaginian queen told in »Aeneid« found its echo in his equally vivid music. Human passions are candidly unveiled – both their joys and excitements as well as their hardships and worries, all the way to deepest despair at the inexorability of divine will. Dido’s famous lament, with which she ends her life, and the opera draws to a close, and where an entire world is evoked in a few words, demonstrates Purcell’s extraordinary expressiveness. But his skill, too, in writing rhythmically concise dance movements and melodic choruses sealed the composer’s reputation among his contemporaries and ensured the admiration of a truly exceptional composer for posterity.  Song, performance and dance combine to create a special form of opera.

Source © Staatsoper Unter Den Linden

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Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin Location Unter den Linden 7 - 10117 Berlin Allemagne

The Venue's History in few words …

When the opera house situated on the Lindenallee was inaugurated in 1742, Frederick the Great intended to turn it into the cultural symbol of his ideal capital, the hub of the "Forum Fridericianum." This "enchanted palace," as the enlightened despot called it, is one of the rare vestiges of the old city still visible today, and a large part of German musics cultural heritage is contained within its walls. The Berlin Staatskapelle, for example, the orchestra connected with the opera, was founded in 1570 and the list of its permanent conductors includes names such as those of Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, Furtwangler, Klemperer and Karajan! During the 19th century, the Berlin Opera remained a royal opera, where Weber's FREISCHUTZ was premiered. The activities of the Berlin Staatskapelle developed under Spontini's responsability, the first "Preussischer Generalmusikdirektor," ever appointed. This goes to show the importance of the ensemble in German musical life at that time, an importance which constantly grew, especially after the "Sinfonie-Soireen" were created in 1842, open to the public by subscription.


In 1919, the Royal Opera became a state opera, and played an active role in the exhuberant artistic activity that rocked Germany during the twenties: Erich Kleiber presented Berg's WOZZECK and popular harmonies of composers such as Kurt Weill resounded in this shrine of the lyrical repertoire, until Nazism cut short a period of intense creativity. During the war, Karajan forged his reputation in the theatre, until bombs destroyed the building, partially in 1941, and completely in 1945.


Because of its geographical situation, the Staatsoper became, in 1949, the Opera of East Berlin. In 1955, the East German administration reinstalled the company in its illustrious hall, rebuilt along the original plans, and one could soon applaud singers such as Peter Schreier and Theo Adam on its stage, musicians who helped create a truly Eastern German singing tradition.


Since the German reunification, the institution has been completely reorganized, especially under the impetus of Daniel Barenboim, who became its General Music Director in 1992. Proud of its impressive history, the present day Opera Unter den Linden hardly neglects its baroque beginnings, and it henceforth counts amongst those that most often produce pre-Mozartian lyrical works, such as CLEOPATRA E CESARE by Graun which opened the Opera's first season in 1742. But the house also commissions works by Pierre Boulez, while defending the traditional repertoire, in which Wagner occupies a large place. By thus juxtaposing tradition and innovation, the Opera Unter den Linden has become one of the institutions most representative of Berlin's new dynamism.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

Staatsoper Unter den Linden


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