Part of the magic was due to the excellent acoustics in the Hall.
The opera, written by an English composer has one of the most touching arias in all opera, the famous “Remember Me” – Dido’s lament for Aeneas – to give the lie to those who say you can’t sing opera in English.
Natalia Dopwell as the tragic Queen Dido excelled, as usual. Nicole Jordan’s playful performance of Belinda, as Dido’s companion and maid, lightened the atmosphere of impending tragedy.
Praise is due, too, to the orchestra of staff and student musicians of TT, guest cellist Tobias Werner and Lutist Anders Kappel, and, last but by no means least, conductor Colin Mendez Morris coming here from Canada to conduct the orchestra on a visit to his native land.
Raguel Gabriel as Aeneas continues to impress, fresh from his role as Tamino in The Magic Flute while Shellon Antoine made a suitably wicked sorcerer, ably supported by the duet of witches, Sabrina Marks and Karen Israel.
It was most heartening for those who appreciate classical music to hear Dr Hilwig describe schoolchildren’s reaction to their first opera – that they loved it, and stayed to chat with the cast after the show.
Nor should the chorus of three men (two doubling as respectively First Sailor/Mercury and Sorcerer) and six women be ignored; the singing, was, of course, very, very good while the acting added to the drama – although this, being a family show, it wasn’t possible act out usual the bacchanal (as seen on DVDs) as the sailors were dragged away to the ships leaving their girlfriends behind.
With no curtain a director faces the problems of a hiatus in the action while scenes are changed and the cast change costumes. However, Purcell seems to have made provisions for changes with interludes of music that allow the cast time to change. The only change of scene was to remove Dido’s couch-cum-throne after the first act. For the rest changes of the backdrop from interior palace to ruined temples (for the sorcerer’s scene) green hills and trees (for the hunt and picnic alfresco) and ships in the harbour (for the departing sailors) were all that were needed to set the scenes.
The Classical Music Development Foundation is to be congratulated on yet another excellent performance of opera – the fourth in the past year, which must be something of a record.
Our thanks, once again, to the Classical Music Development Foundation, the singers, the orchestra, the guest musicians, those responsible for costumes, lighting, props, sets – and Director Helmer Hilwig – for yet another evening of glorious classical music.