Opera Fort Collins presents Henry Purcell’s, “Dido & Aeneas” Reimagined

Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas, is based on the long epic poem The Aeneid (29-19 BC), which was written by the influential Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BCE). The Aeneid chronicles the legendary life of the Trojan Aeneas. After fleeing the fall of Troy, Virgil explores how the Roman gods helped Aeneas establish the Roman empire.

Virgil’s story of Dido and Aeneas is a tragic story of love and sacrifice. After fleeing Troy, Aeneas’ ship is carried to Libya in a storm. At the same time, Queen Dido has fled Lebanon after her brother killed her husband. She settled in North Africa where she and her supporters are building Carthage. After the Trojans arrive, cupid is sent to help Dido and Aeneas fall in love. Since it was Aeneas’ fate to get to Italy, and establish Rome, he hesitantly follows the gods’ commands and leaves Dido. Heartbroken, Dido commits suicide. Although she is a strong Queen, her relationship with Aeneas led to her downfall. She let down her city, her people, and Aeneas. However, since Aeneas chose his duty to the gods over his personal wishes, he was praised, and rewarded with the heroic title of establishing Rome.

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