Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

This page lists all recordings of Dido and Aeneas, by Henry Purcell (1659-95) on CD, SACD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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First Choice
March 2009
Mid-Price Choice
September 2001
Editor's Choice
February 2009
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All recordings

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Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Original 1973 quadraphonic recording by Philips Classics, remastered in 2015


When Henry Purcell wrote his one and only opera Dido and Aeneas in the second half of the seventeenth century, there was no existing opera tradition in England. With a libretto based on Virgil’s Aeneid and its music stylistically close to and derived from the typically English ‘Masque’ form (a festive courtly entertainment involving music, dancing, singing and acting, within an elaborate stage design) Purcell created a monumental baroque opera. Dido and Aeneas is considered by many to be the most important opera to appear between Claudio Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea and W.A. Mozart’s later masterpieces. Still today it is widely performed and its most famous aria Henry Purcell ‘When I am lead in earth’ (Dido’s lament) arguably can be counted amongst some of the most famous opera arias ever.

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Pentatone Remastered Classics - PTC5186230

(SACD)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Rachael Lloyd (Dido), Elin Manahan Thomas (Belinda), Robert Davies (Aeneas), Roderick Morris (Sorceress), Eloise Irving (Second Woman/First Witch/Spirit), Jenni Harper (Second Witch), Miles Golding (Sailor)

Armonico Consort, Christopher Monks

Purcell’s ever-green chamber opera Dido & Aeneas, its story drawn from Virgil’s epic, the Aeneid, is performed by the Armonico Consort with an enchanting selection of soloists, including Rachael Lloyd, Robert Davies & Elin Manahan Thomas.

Armonico Consort is one of the largest and most innovative organisations of its kind in the UK, existing to inspire audiences with its unique programmes.

“lithe, colourful, tastefully phrased and dynamically astute playing...[the cast] sing compellingly and inhabit their roles with the same sensitivity that distinguishes the whole performance.” The Telegraph, 24th May 2015 ****

“This account has likeable soloists..., a fine chorus (though “Great minds” and “With drooping wings” are too slow) and a lively band. One-string-to-a-part weakens passages like the end of “Oft she visits”, but brings out Purcell’s expressive part-writing.” Sunday Times, 24th May 2015

“a fine performance should magic up a sense of epic. Christopher Monks and his Armonico Consort almost manage to. This is a clean, uncluttered account featuring crystalline voices, good diction, safe tempos and well-defined phrasing...vocal ensembles are luminous and the instrumental playing is bright and streamlined. Best of all is Rachael Lloyd’s dignified Dido, rich-voiced, poetic and flawlessly delivered.” The Guardian, 4th June 2015 ***

“The Armonico Consort and its musical director, Christopher Monks, capture this abundance of inspiration in a performance full of life and variety...Rachael Lloyd’s dignified Dido and Elin Manahan Thomas’s bright Belinda are well contrasted.” Financial Times, 20th June 2015 ***

“There's a lot going for this newcomer. The scale is modest...The playing is wonderfully vital...The soloists are equally fine. Bright-toned Elin Manahan Thomas is well cast as Belinda...Roderick Morris is pleasingly unexaggerated as a countertenor Sorceress...Rachael Lloyd - lovesick, imperious, resigned - is an excellent Dido, her famous Lament no less effective for being restrained.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“This new recording, with a cast of youthful, fresh-voiced soloists and an ingenuous approach, recaptures the spirit of the first known performance in a Chelsea boarding school for 'young gentlewomen'…Rachel Lloyd makes a graceful Dido…Christopher Monks's fleet direction and wispy instrumental playing enhance the all-pervasive dance rhythms.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2015

Signum - SIGCD417

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Vivica Genaux (Dido), Henk Neven (Æneas), Ana Quintans (Belinda) & Marc Mauillon (Sorceress, Marin)

Vincent Dumestre (conductor) & Stéphane Vérité (director)

Cécile ROUSSAT & Julien LUBEK Staging, Choregraphy, Set, Costumes

Laurent CASTAINGT Lights

After the success of the DVDs devoted to Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Cadmus & Hermione, Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique continue their exploration of repertoires of the 17th century.

This piece, combining theatre and music, allowed Purcell to achieve his dramatic ideal. In fact, he wrote only a single opera in his short career – he died at the age of 36 –, but with it, he left us a gem of rare beauty and extreme concision. The work’s genius is also due in part to the quality of the libretto, skilfully put together by Nahum Tate.

Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek, stage directors coming from the arts of the circus and the mime Marceau, had already collaborated with Le Poème Harmonique on the Carnaval Baroque. Here, they combine mime, dance and acrobatics with the music in a moving, magical production.

“Despite a largely Francophone cast, and Genaux's faint North American accent, the text is brilliantly clear. Ana Quintans's Belinda and Jenny Daviet's Second Woman are brightly characterised...Dumestre favours slow tempos in the laments, artfully sustained by Genaux. The final image of the dying queen is stunning.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2015 ****

“a strongly convincing and stylish performance from the cast led by the dark but clear voiced Vivica Genaux as a handsome, vulnerable Dido...Ana Quintan's Belinda offers bright support, providing, as she should, much of the work's forward energy...sensual richness is also the main virtue of the production.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

DVD Video

Region: 0

Up to 30% off Alpha

Alpha - ALPHA706

(DVD Video)

Normally: $28.00

Special: $22.40

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Emily Van Evera (Dido), Ben Parry (Aeneas), Janet Lax (Belinda), Haden Andrews (Sorceress), Hanne Mari Ørbaek

Taverner Choir & Players, Andrew Parrott

AVIE continues to mine the rich catalog of recordings made by Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Choir & Players with a sumptuous reissue of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas. The performance is as fresh as when the recording was made in 1994, with baritone Ben Parry as the Trojan hero Aeneas, and soprano Emily Van Evera as the abandoned Queen of Carthage, delivering an interpretation of Dido’s Lament that is as dignified as it is sublime.

“Tempos are not particularly brisk but the playing is throughout fresh and vivid...the whole ensemble, down to Douglas Wootton’s down-to-earth entertaining Sailor and the charming enchantresses, is superb.” MusicWeb International, 4th December 2014

“This re-issue of the 1994 recording is certainly idiosyncratic but there is much to like, starting with the Taverner Players (led by Andrew Manze) who locate a strain of sad nostalgia right from the beginning and hold onto it in an elegant, expressive performance.” Opera Now ***

Avie - AV2309

(CD)

$14.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas & Masques

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas & Masques


Purcell:

Dido and Aeneas

Mary Thomas (Dido), Maurice Bevan (Aeneas), Honor Sheppard (Belinda, First Witch, First Woman), Helen Watts (Sorceress), Robert Tear (Spirit/Sailor)

Masques from Dioclesian & Timon of Athens

Alfred Deller (countertenor), Honor Sheppard (soprano), Sally Lesage (soprano), Philip Todd (tenor), Max Worthey (tenor), Maurice Bevan (bass)


Vanguard Classics - 9100985

(CD - 2 discs)

$10.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas (plus Bonus Arias)

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas (plus Bonus Arias)


Purcell:

Dido and Aeneas

The Tempest: Arise ye subterranean winds

Rec. 1958

Philomusica of London

Halcyon days (from King Arthur, Z629)

Rec. 1958

Philomusica of London

What shall I do to show how much I love her? (from Prophetess or The History of Dioclesian, Z627)

Rec. 1958

Philomusica of London


Patricia Clark, Eileen Poulter, Monica Sinclair, Rhianon James, Catherine Wilson, Dorothy Dorow, Raimund Herincx & John Mitchinson

St. Anthony Singers & English Chamber Orchestra, Anthony Lewis

“This set really stands on the basis of Baker’s Dido and she is marvellous...the Alto disc sounds fine and full-bodied and certainly as good as the Decca version...All lovers of this opera should have Baker’s performance of Dido, and this is an excellent and cheap way to acquire it.” MusicWeb International, April 2013

Alto - ALC1210

(CD)

$6.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Ann Murray (Dido), Anton Scharinger (Aeneas), Trudeliese Schmidt (Sorceress),

Rachel Yakar (Belinda)

Concentus Musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

“The timbre and weight of Ann Murray's voice drag down Dido's vocal line. While neatly shaping the phrases of the chorus, Harnoncourt reins in neither its volume nor the soloists' rubatos.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2008 **

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk - 2564698528

(CD)

$8.25

(also available to download from $5.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: The Fairy Queen and Dido & Aeneas

Purcell: The Fairy Queen and Dido & Aeneas


Purcell:

The Fairy Queen, Z629

Jennifer Vyvyan, Mary Wells, Alfreda Hodgson, James Bowman, Peter Pears, Ian Partridge, Charles Brett, John Shirley-Quirk, Owen Brannigan

English Chamber Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Benjamin Britten

Dido and Aeneas

Janet Baker (Dido), Peter Pears (Aeneas), Norma Burrowes (Belinda), Anna Reynolds (Sorceress), Felicity Lott (Second Woman), Robert Tear (Sailor), Timothy Everett (Spirit)

Aldeburgh Festival Strings, London Opera Chorus, Steuart Bedford


2CD and 3CD Bargains

Decca - Double Decca - 4685612

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $12.50

Special: $8.12

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Reissued to mark Sir Colin Davis's 80th birthday, this sublime Philips recording of Dido and Aeneas makes a welcome return to the catalogue. The honeyed sound of its protagonists - Josephine Veasey (whom Sir Colin also chose as the Dido for his recording of Berlioz's Les Troyens) and John Shirley-Quirk - is offset by a chaste-sounding Helen Donath and a superbly characterised Sorceress from Bainbridge.

“fresh and enjoyable” Penguin Guide

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4428334

(CD)

$8.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Janet Baker (Dido), Raimund Herincx (Aeneas), Patricia Clark (Belinda), Monica Sinclair (Sorceress)

English Chamber Orchestra, Anthony Singers, Anthony Lewis

“Janet Baker's 1962 recording of Dido is a truly great performance. The radiant beauty of the voice is obvious enough, but the opening phrase of 'When I Am Laid In Earth' and its repeat a few bars later is a model of graduated mezza voce...Lewis and the ECO (Thurston Dart is a model continuo player) produce the crispest and lightest of playing which never sounds rushed.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

“listening to Janet Baker as Dido in her celebrated recording made at the dawn of her career, in 1962, still leaves one breathless with admiration and moved to the core by her combination of glorious sound and intensity of dramatic spirit...Baker’s colleagues are equally good: Monica Sinclair’s Sorceress rasps as villainously as ever.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 ****

“Even in 1961 Anthony Lewis was offering historically informed performances of early music, albeit on modern instruments. The strings here have great spring and are attacked lustily...we hear [Baker's] uncanny ability to shade phrases with endless control over dynamics and vibrato...It’s a beautiful, one-of-a-kind portrayal.” Classics Today

“It is a truly legendary recording...everything is put in the shade by Dame Janet Baker's portrayal of Dido: her celebrated, despairingly moving, closing lament is unforgettable. This was also Anthony Lewis's finest record...and his chorus and the ECO both give their very best.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2013

Presto Greatest Recordings

1960s

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Building a Library

Mid-Price Choice - September 2001

Decca Legends - 4663872

(CD)

$9.25

(also available to download from $8.25)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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