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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Prom 7: Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas @ Royal Albert Hall "Containing what many believe to be one of the greatest English songs ever"... Review ->

Last night Paul, Helen, Trevor and I went to listen to David Bates and the La Nuova Musica choir perform Henry Purcell’s monumental work, the Baroque opera Dido and Aeneas as part of the 2022 Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London's glitzy South Kensington.
Containing what many believe to be one of the greatest English songs ever created, Dido and Aeneas was written almost 340 years ago making it one of the earliest known English operas. It recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her.
The performance was excellent. Alice Coote as Dido was outstanding, James Newby as Aeneas was first class, Gemma Summerfield as Belinda was powerful, and the La Nuova Musica choir sung their hearts out.
However, the night was rather stolen by the three semi-naked sailors. Nicky Spence, Luke Cartwright, and Owen Morris performed the dance of Purcell's The Sailors' Dance to the choreography of Beyoncé's Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). Fabulously funny.
Another highlight for me was the rousing "So Fair the Game, So Rich the Sport."  Love that tune.
Other notable parts were sung by Madeleine Shaw as Sorceress, Nardus Williams as Second Woman, Tim Mead as Spirit, Helen Charlston as First Witch, and Martha McLorinan as Second Witch
The ever-talented David Bates not only conducted the piece but also played the harpsichord. Clever chap.
Oh , and that greatest English song (covered by Alison Moyet, Annie Lennox, Justin Vivien Bond et al)?
Dido sings it as her last dying aria, "When I Am Laid in Earth", also known as "Dido's Lament."
It's a corker I can tell you.
Dido's Lament 
Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me,
On thy bosom let me rest,
More I would, but Death invades me;
Death is now a welcome guest.
When I am laid, am laid in earth,
May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

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