Dido and Aeneas

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Dido and Aeneas is an opera in a prologue and three acts, written by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell (1659-1695) with a libretto by Nahum Tate.

The original text

Dido and Aeneas is based on Book IV of Virgil’s epic The Aeneid. It is one of the earliest known English operas, and one of the most important and often performed operas written in the Baroque period. It is also Henry Purcell’s only true opera; that is, his only all-sung dramatic work.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1958/1964: Presented at the University of the Free State at some point during this period, conducted by Leo Quayle.

2002: Presented by Cape Town Opera (12–27 January)


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

'Dido & Aeneas Synopsis'. Sarasota Opera. https://www.sarasotaopera.org/dido-aeneas-synopsis-background

Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

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