reviewed by Paula Citron
Dido and Aeneas
Opera Erratica and Classical Music Consort
Composed by Henry Purcell
Conducted by Ashiq Aziz
Directed by Patrick Eakin Young
Starring Susanne Hawkins, Olivier Laquerre, Charlotte Corwin, Andrew Pickett and John Bacon
Photo credit: Tony Hoffmann
At Winchester Street Theatre until Aug. 29
I love brave new artistic adventures. Classical Music Consort under conductor/harpsichordist Ashiq Aziz, and Opera Erratica, under designer/director Patrick Eakin Young, have joined forces to mount an innovative production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The two describe their aesthetic as both “Underground / Opera” and “Old Music + New Media”.
The stage is dominated by a large screen, and Young’s video projections of three white silhouette shadow dancers representing Dido, Aeneas and Belinda, are closely linked to the live action. Sometimes the singers perform the same physicality as the shadows, but more often than not, the silhouettes represent the subtext. As well, the overhead projections only occasionally quote lines from the actual text. Rather, they are inner monologues and philosophical reflections that deepen meaning and motivation.
Along with the imaginative staging, the mix of singers from Canada and Europe and a top drawer period ensemble make for an absorbing night of opera.
Dido and Aeneas continues at Winchester Street Theatre until Aug. 29.