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‘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 and Mahogany Opera, Errollyn Wallen’s 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.