‘Remember me, but ah! Forget my fate’ sings Dido at the end of Purcell’s opera. But life isn’t always quite so straightforward, and some memories have a destiny of their own. Set several years after the Carthaginian queen’s death, Dido’s Ghost finds Dido’s sister Anna abandoned on the shores of Aeneas’s new kingdom, igniting a murderous jealously in Aeneas’s wife Lavinia – and as events play out, its characters confront a past that refuses to fade.
Co-commissioned by Dunedin Consort, the Barbican Centre, Buxton International Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, and Mahogany Opera, Dido’s Ghost reframes, illuminates and expands Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which is performed in its entirety as a flashback within Wallen’s drama. Performed on period instruments, Dido’s Ghost bridges the gap between worlds, as past blurs into present and memory becomes emotion in this ambitious new commission.