Dido and Aeneas 1989

Accordion book structure with text from the libretto of an opera. Dark skies, trees, and ship masts adorn the folds of the book.

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

Work Details

Title
Dido and Aeneas
Date
1989
Medium
Pulp painting on handmade paper
Dimensions
7 x 14 in.
Credit
Gift of Lois Pollard Price
On Display
No

About This Work

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. 

Explore More

National Museum of Women in the Arts