"Baroque-pearl caused delight: Purcells 'Dido and Aeneas' filled up Mørdrup Kirke"

Ole Josephsen, Helsingør Dagblad, 2nd May 2024

Baroque-pearl caused delight: Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" filled up Mørdrup Kirke

It was Espergærde Music Society's final concert of the season on Sunday at Mørdrup Kirke, and it was a formidable finale. The ensemble "Copenhagen Soloists" with Jonathan Ofir at the helm performed Henry Purcells opera "Dido and Aeneas" for a full church.

ESPERGÆRDE: The vocal soloists were Anna Wierød as Dido, Ørjan Hartveit as Æneas, Cassandra Lemoine as Belinda, and in smaller roles Nanna Ipsen, Simone Rønn, Adam Riis, Kristoffer Appel og Emil Ritter. The orchestra consisted of 4 violins, viola, viola da gamba, cello, bass violone, theorbo and harpsichord.

Love and departure

The opera tells the story of the Queen of Carthage, Dido, and Prince Aeneas, Prince of Troy, who fall in love with each other. A conspiracy of the Sorceress and her witches swears to destroy Dido, whom they hate, and they persuade Aeneas to sail to Italy in order to revive the ruined Troy. It is thus their intention to allow a storm to wreck his ship on the way. The witches sing: "Destruction's our delight".

Aeneas leaves Dido with grief, where she feels she cannot live without him. In her famous aria: "When I am laid in earth", she bids life farewell, and with the beautiful grieving chorus: "With drooping wings ye Cupids come", the opera ends.

Copenhagen Soloists consists of top-notch singers and musicians, and Jonathan Ofir masters in leading the course of the battle with firm hand. Purcell's music is a baroque-pearl. It is elegant and was played lightly and vividly.

The dance movements had a wonderful drive and the ending was outright captivating in its beauty. Dido's farewell to life and the final grieving chorus brought tears.

The delighted audience thanked with standing ovations for a great experience. And outside, the April sun shined, as we left.