These two small operas produced by the DePauw Opera are about one hour each and are based on historic love stories, one tragic and the other showing the positive power of dedicated love. English composer Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas is based on Virgil’s Aeneid as Aeneas, the Trojan hero, fulfills his destiny to found Rome. On his way there, the Queen of Carthage, Dido, entertains him, falls in love with him but eventually takes her own life in despair as he leaves her. But, despite the tragic tale, Purcell’s Baroque music is unique and well-loved for its beautiful melodies and many catchy tunes. An animated chorus observes the action of the plot adding wonderful elements including sailors and witches, their interactions occasionally interrupted by thunderstorms!
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s famous Orfeo ed Euridice is one in a long line of Italian settings of this story– Orfeo’s dedicated journey through hell no matter the cost to retrieve his wife, Euridice, who has died. As Orfeo makes a deal with Cupid to go find her, the gods require that he not look at his wife until he and his wife cross the threshold back into earthly light or else she dies again, forever. As he finds her, he begins to convince her to return to life and maintains not looking at her, no matter his wife’s constant inquiry. But Orfeo gives in, looks at her, and sadly Euridice dies again. Cupid suddenly returns and intervenes, allowing Euridice to live again, citing the power of Orfeo’s dedicated love. All this action is observed and commented on by the character-shifting chorus which serves in this short masterpiece as friends of the couple, demonic spirits in hell, and amazed and jubilant witnesses of the stunning outcome.
The DePauw Opera schedule of performances is:
Thursday, March 3 7:30 Moore Theatre Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
Friday, March 4 7:30 Moore Theatre Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
Saturday, March 5 7:30 Moore Theatre Purcell: Dido and Aeneas
Sunday, March 6 2:00pm (Matinee) Moore Theatre Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
Admission to the general public is $10.