reviewed by Paula Citron
Dido and Aeneas
Composed by Henry Purcell
Conducted by Michael Beattie
Directed by Jonathan Miller
Starring Tamara Mumford, David Adam Moore, Joélle Harvey and Anthony Roth Costanzo
At the Alice Busch Opera Theatre Aug. 16 and 23
This Glimmerglass season, the great Jonathan Miller directed both Dido and Aeneas and La traviata. Dido and Aeneas is a “concert dramatization” because it is performed in casual street clothes.
Designer Ada Smith’s two high walls separated by a narrow gap means the chorus is squeezed into a little opening, but Miller’s touches of modern day humour compensate. For example, the hunt scene contains backpacks and cell phones, while the Sorceress and her demons wear hoodies. Miller also has meaningful interplay between the chorus and the soloists.
Mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford’s Dido shows a gorgeous voice of both strength and beauty, while baritone David Adam Moore’s Aeneas is suitably manly. Joélle Harvey’s Belinda has a very pretty and expressive feathery soprano. Conductor Michael Beattie is superb with the nuances of early music.
The Sorceress is performed by sensational countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. His outpouring of magnificent high notes is nothing short of miraculous.
Dido and Aeneas continues at Glimmerglass Opera Aug. 16 and 23.