Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

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

Recommendations

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

All recordings

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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

Avie - AV2309

(CD)

$17.25

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)

$7.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Solenn’ Lavanant Linke (Dido), Alejandro Meerapfel (Æneas), Yeree Suh (Belinda), Fabián Schofrin (Sorceress), Mariana Flores (Second Witch, Second woman), Magali Arnault (First Witch), Christophe Carré (Spirit of the Sorceress) & Valerio Contaldo (Sailor)

La Nouvelle Ménestrandie & Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo García Alarcón (direction)

Dido and Æneas was created in private surroundings at Josias Priest’s School for Young Gentlewomen in Chelsea. Intended as it was for an amateur setting, Dido is conspicuous for the simplicity of its resources: an all female cast, an absence of vocal virtuosity, instrumental forces restricted to strings, and the modest contrapuntal elaboration of the choruses. The date of its first and only performance (1689) before its revival in the 20th-century speaks volumes about the English distrust of the new genre! How times have changed: Dido’s lament ‘When I am laid in earth’ was recently voted the nation’s favourite aria.

“As far as our performance is concerned, I thought it appropriate to expand the instrumental forces to include wind, as was customary at the time, especially for French operas. I also wished to preserve the sometimes intimate character of the typical English consort of four or five instruments. The lyra viol is used to accompany some of the recitatives, notably the laments. Considerable research on the relationship between text and intervals in Purcell’s writing showed us the way towards discovering the sweetness of ninths, the rage of fourths, the muffled sonorities produced by sixths, the feeling of peace a third leaves behind it, the clear-sighted audacity of a second, the torment of a diminished seventh, the restfulness of a minor seventh and the strength of conviction of an octave, not to mention the false relations which one is more used to finding on the Iberian peninsula. Thus a whole world of colours blossoms in the texts of Nahum Tate, just as the words of Alessandro Striggio had introduced Monteverdi into a new universe when he was composing L’Orfeo. In conclusion, I felt our interpretation should emphasise the importance of reassessing Dido and Æneas as a piece conceived for performance by young singers. Our project reflects the shared desire of a conservatory in Geneva and an ensemble of musicians to join forces to perform a work which is difficult to get to grips with yet was above all written for simple people in an almost domestic context who were unfamiliar with the world of opera and unaware of the important role with which history was entrusting them.” Leonardo García Alarcón

Based by the dramatist Nahum Tate on the fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid and his own Brutus of Alba, or The Enchanted Lovers (1678), the libretto relates the tragic love story of Dido, seduced and abandoned by Æneas when he leaves Carthage to found Rome. Tate departs from Virgil on two points: he substitutes witches for the divinities of Olympus, and reserves a kinder death for Dido, who instead of falling on her sword perishes of grief on her lover’s departure.

“Solenn' Lavanant Linke's voluptuous, volatile voice is a thrilling find for the unhinged Dido...Fabian Schofrin's Sorceress is outrageous, his two witches sounding like they've inhaled helium.” Classic FM Magazine, April 2011 ***

“[Alarcón] has a proper sense of style and his orchestra turns in neat and accomplished playing...Solenn’ Lavanant Linke has a curiously metallic tone: uningratiating at first, but one soon gets used to it and by the time of the Lament she is very moving.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011

“it is clearly a performance full of fun, and if the performers sometimes overstep the mark...their youthful enthusiasm for the music and the freshness they bring to it are enormously compelling...[The Lament] is delivered with immaculate poise, beautiful restraint and not only real technical mastery but a leve of musical maturity which defies [Linke's] tender years.” International Record Review, December 2010

“From many points it is an ideal realisation of Purcell's tight-knit masterpiece, with young voices, a small instrumental ensemble, lively tempi and transparent textures...it proves the continued vitality and international reach of Purcell's mini-opera.” The Observer, 3rd October 2010

Ambronay - AMY022

(CD)

$17.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


This famous recording of Purcell’s opera starring the incomparable Jessye Norman as Dido and Thomas Allen as Aeneas, was made over twenty years ago and has retained a firm foothold in the catalogue since it first appeared; it is now available at mid-price for the first time. Booklet includes libretto in English and German.

Decca - Originals - 4782121

(CD)

$11.50

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Susan Bickley, Della Jones & Peter Harvey

St. James’s Baroque Players & St. James’s Singers, Ivor Bolton

“…with Della Jones as Dido giving one of her finest recorded performances… There is no weak link… Setting the seal on the performance’s success, the choir is among the freshest and liveliest and the use of guitar continuo… enhances the happy intimacy of the presentation " Penguin Guide ***

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk - 2564698569

(CD)

$10.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Susan Graham (Dido), Ian Bostridge (Aeneas), Camilla Tilling (Belinda), Cécile de Boever (Second Woman), Felicity Palmer (Sorceress), David Daniels (Spirit), Paul Agnew (Sailor) & Emmanuelle Haïm (harpsichord & direction)

Le Concert d’Astrée & European Voices

The brand new series celebrates EMI - The Home of Opera with Haïm's recording of Dido and Aeneas with Susan Graham and Ian Bostridge. Includes complete libretto and synopsis on a bonus CD ROM.

“Haïm's continuo group plays a vital role in the vibrancy of the performance: six of em...constantly changing colour in an organic tapestry that's continually evolving, improvised in response to the singers or at least that's how it feels...The casting shows similar imagination. [Graham's is] a bigger voice than you might expect, but so intelligently used that the emotional range increases without our tragic heroine threatening to burst out of her corsets.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 27th January 2004

“It might be an exaggeration to say that this new Dido has one foot in England and the other in France, but it is not far from the truth. The conductor and the instrumentalists establish a French style in the overture. Extremes of tempo, exaggerated dotted rhythms, the instrumental timbres, and an abundance of rolled chords and embellishments evoke spectacles staged at Versailles” Classical Net, 2004

Virgin - The Opera Series - 9668212

(CD)

$11.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Filmed at Hampton Court House


Purcell’s much-loved tragic masterpiece is an intense tale of heroism, passion, betrayal and ultimate tragedy, played out against a backdrop of fiery rituals, evil spells and pageantry. This film was first shown on television in 1995 to celebrate the tercentenary of Purcell’s death. The American soprano Maria Ewing stars as Dido, with Karl Daymond as Aeneas. They head an excellent British cast including Rebecca Evans as Belinda, Sally Burgess as the Sorceress, Patricia Rozario as the First Enchantress and James Bowman as the Voice of Mercury. The Collegium Musicum 90 is conducted by Richard Hickox, and the film was directed by Peter Maniura.

This production of Dido & Aeneas was filmed entirely on location at Hampton Court House in 1995, where spectacular settings were created in the house and grounds by the Dutch designer Niek Kortekaas.

Director Peter Maniura said of the production, “Purcell’s masterpiece is a miracle of dramatic compression. Inspired by the paintings of the 17th Century, I have tried to recreate a rich filmic world which places a classical love story with its heroes and heroines, magic and intrigue, in a Baroque setting”.

“Maria Ewing is a lugubrious Dido laid in fire as much as earth in Manuira's production for television. Flaming torches culminate in a funeral pyre that Bellini's tragic heroine Norma might have envied.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2009 ***

“Interiors flicker by torchlight and the outdoor scenes are a highly attractive mixture of Poussin and period drama, with sumptuous costumes and thoughtfully designed set pieces… a rich feast that makes fulsome use of the location, and the director Peter Maniura complements Purcell's music with consistently sensitive imagery.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2009

DVD Video

Region: 2,3,4,5

Format: NTSC

Warner Music Vision - 5144288222

(DVD Video)

$20.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


“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)

$10.25

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


Decca - Double Decca - 4685612

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.50

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Lynne Dawson (Dido), Rosemary Joshua (Belinda), Susan Bickley (Sorceress), Gerald Finley (Aeneas), Dominique Visse (First Witch), Stephen Wallace (Second Witch), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Second Woman), Robin Blaze (Spirit)

Clare College Chapel Choir, Members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, René Jacobs

Building a Library

First Choice - September 2001

Harmonia Mundi - HMC901683

(CD)

$16.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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