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.

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First Choice
March 2009
First Choice
September 2001
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


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 ***

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Signum - SIGCD417

(CD)

$15.75

(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.

“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

Released or re-released in last 6 months

DVD Video

Region: 0

Alpha - ALPHA706

(DVD Video)

$34.75

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)

$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 & The Indian Queen

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas & The Indian Queen


Purcell:

Dido and Aeneas

Catherine Bott (Dido), Emma Kirkby (Belinda), John Mark Ainsley (Aeneas), David Thomas (Sorceress), Elisabeth Priday (First Witch), Sara Stowe (Second Witch), Julianne Baird (Second Woman), Daniel Lochmann (First Sailor) & Michael Chance (Spirit)

The Indian Queen, Z630

Emma Kirkby, Catherine Bott, Helen Parker, Libby Crabtree (sopranos), John Mark Ainsley, Simon Berridge, Julian Podger (tenors), Gerald Finley, David Thomas (baritones)


“Catherine Bott's Dido is perfectly rendered as part of an integrated recorded sound in a performance that's breathtakingly well nuanced. Emma Kirkby's Belinda is similarly finely turned In addition, John Mark Ainsley provides a heroic Aeneas in what is a challenging role because of its apparent lack of guts... the project's ultimate hero is Christopher Hogwood, whose sympathy for every twist and turn of Purcell's delightful opera is total.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009

Decca Operas - 4783404

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.50

(also available to download from $14.00)

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

(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)

$10.00

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

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on 3rd & 8th April 2009.


Sarah Connolly (Dido), Lucas Meachem (Aeneas), Lucy Crowe (Belinda), Sara Fulgoni (Sorceress), Anita Watson (Second Woman), Eri Nakamura (First Witch), Pumeza Matshikiza (Second Witch), Iestyn Davies (Spirit), Ji-Min Park (Sailor)

Dancers of The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera Extra Chorus & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Christopher Hogwood (conductor) & Wayne McGregor (stage director)

The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera join forces for Wayne McGregor’s acclaimed fusion of music and movement, whose richly layered designs perfectly complement Purcell’s telling of a classical tale of love thwarted by evil powers. With Sarah Connolly and Lucas Meachem in the title roles, Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Filmed with High Definition cameras and recorded in true surround sound.

BONUS MATERIAL

Illustrated synopsis & cast gallery.

Interview with Wayne McGregor.

‘Dido is perfectly integrated, and the expressively stylised movements that McGregor has devised for the singers make a fascinating contrast to the gyrations of the corps de ballet. …The casts were excellent. [Sarah Connolly] struck gold with a heartbreaking account of "When I am laid". The sensitivity of her acting and her intense musicality was striking throughout. Lucy Crowe made a delightful Belinda, with Lucas Meachem a quarterback hunk of an Aeneas. The young ad hoc chorus sang beautifully.’ The Telegraph

Running time 72 mins Region code All regions

Picture format 16:9 Anamorphic Sound format 5.1 Half DTS / PCM Stereo

Menu language EN Subtitles EN/FR/DE/ES/IT Dimensions (mm) W135 H190 D15

“The wide open spaces and minimalist designs contrive a vast universe against which a very intimate human tragedy can be teased out, presented with an almost classical purity and restraint. Lucy Crowe is a seductive Belinda, with Sara Fulgoni equally compelling as the Sorceress, and under Christopher Hogwood's shapely musical direction the score engorges the amplitude of the Opera House without... any illuminating period pertinence. ...Sarah Connolly embraces the fateful trajectory towards suicide with almost unbearable intensity.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2010 ****

“thanks to the film director Jonathan Haswell it works better there than in the theatre...Belinda is unaffectedly played by Lucy Crowe, her bright tones and precise articulation all one could desire. Sarah Connolly, whether tormented by love or grief, is an equally ideal Dido...Definitely worth investigating.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2010

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OA1018D

(DVD Video)

$27.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas


Simone Kermes (Dido), Dimitris Tiliakos (Aeneas), Deborah York (Belinda), Oleg Ryabets (Sorceress), Margarita Mezentseva, Sofia Fomina, Yana Mamonova, Elena Kondratova, Valeria Safonova & Alexandre Zverev

New Siberian Singers (chamber choir of the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera & Ballet Theatre) & MusicAeterna, Teodor Currentzis

"We tend to think we know everything and live with our comfortable prejudices and routines as indeed it is easier to acknowledge than to discover. Thus fared Baroque music; it was rediscovered by the middle of the twentieth century, retrieved by investigative and passionate souls from the oblivion in which it had been precipitated in the holy name of Progress. Not unlike ideas, however, music is very dependent on individual attitudes. It is not felt or interpreted in France or The Netherlands as in Italy or Spain and over the last few years we've been blessed by a surprisingly wide variety of savours and colours reflecting the schools and the temperament of the various interpreters. Alpha, who's calling it is to follow and reveal artistic diversity, release the first recording of the MusicAeterna from Novosibirsk, conducted by Teodor Currentzis: a lively illustration of a new approach emanating from an alternative perspective. For citizens of London,Amsterdam or Paris, Dido & Aeneas is a civilised, slightly watered-down court opera. Seen from Siberia however, it is an intolerably tense and purifying ritual drama, rooted in the sacred origins of tragedy.What you will hear has no relation to the 'conventional' stylistic consensus governing the small world of ancient music. Here the East takes 18th-century baroque by storm, giving the myth of Carthage's Queen a weight and a sensuality which we're not used to. To sum up : a real performance, in the ancient and truly philosophical meaning of the work." Jean-Paul Combet, founder and artistic director, Alpha

“Currentzis reminds us that this is, first and foremost, an opera about desire, and offers us something at once sexier and more probingly tragic. MusicAeterna's playing doesn't have the OAE's refinement, but is infinitely warmer in sound and far more energetically committed. Dido - a soprano here, rather than the usual mezzo - is the remarkable Simone Kermes, whose subtly inflected singing exposes disquieting emotional extremes. There's a palpable erotic charge between her and Dimitris Taliakos's moody Aeneas, so that we understand completely why Dido's world becomes meaningless without him.” The Guardian, 13th February 2009

Alpha - ALPHA140

(CD)

$17.25

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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