Dido and Aeneas 1989

Claire Van Vliet, Dido and Aeneas, 1989; Gift of Lois Pollard Price

Dido and Aeneas celebrates the 300th anniversary of the Baroque opera by Henry Purcell, which was first performed in London in 1689. Nahum Tate’s libretto tells the drama of Dido, the betrayed and abandoned queen of Carthage who throws herself on a funerary pyre as the ship of her lover, Aeneas, leaves the harbor.

Each scene of the opera has text from the libretto sewn into the accordion book structure. The dark sky reflects the turbulent feelings of the despairing queen; the tops of the trees are symbolic of the grove where the lovers meet; and the masts of the ships signal the departure of Aeneas. The last section of the book takes us back to the royal palace, where the story begins, the sky in Carthage once again quiet. The book includes a CD of the opera performed by the Taverner Choir and Taverner Players.