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With that of Orpheus, the myth of Dido has no doubt been one of the most prolific in epics, drama and, as from the 17th century, in musical theatre. Teodor Currentzis, a young rising star on the international scene (let's just mention his success in 2008 at Opéra Bastille), took hold of this musical monument to offer us a version where, for once, drama prevails.
Resulting from a triple, English, French and Italian influence, Dido and Aeneas reminds us of John Blow's mask as well as of Charpentier's short scenic works that its royal commissioner had seen during his exile in France. The plurality of registers is as much a legacy from Shakespearian theatre as from Venetian musical drama, whereas certain autonomous forms, such as the final lamento, are spurred by the typical descending tetrachord hailing from Venetian opera, Cavalli in particular, who's Erismena Purcell probably saw on stage in London in 1674 : umpteenth example of the cross-mix of cultures and literary and musical aesthetics that makes of Dido and Aeneas not so much a universal work of art as a true European opera.