Dido’s Ghost

Our 2021 commission from Errollyn Wallen and Wesley Stace

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 the Barbican, Buxton International Festival, Dunedin Consort, 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.

Duration: 90 mins

It’s a stimulating piece of creation and adaptation, done to a very high standard indeed, and may even be remembered as one of the most striking and original artistic products of the Covid era.
Robert Beale, The Arts Desk
bold & moving, a piercing reminder of how the past haunts the present
The Observer
a beguiling tapestry of fragmentary quotations and knowing gestures to an earlier music language, overlaid with a contemporary sonic palette
The Guardian
a bold reimagining of Purcell’s classic
Alexandra Coghlan, iNews

World Premiere

6 June 2021 – 22:00

Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre

11, 14, 17 July 2021 – 19:15

Buxton Opera House, Buxton International Festival

20, 21, 22 August 2021 – 19:30

Edinburgh Academy Junior School, Edinburgh International Festival


Co-commissioned by the Barbican, Buxton International Festival, Dunedin Consort, Edinburgh International Festival, Mahogany Opera and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.


We are grateful to the support of Amati Global Investors, Hamish & Sophie Forsyth, Ian Hamilton, Prof. Ludmilla Jordanova, Anthony Newhouse, John & Madeleine Tattersall, Vaulkhard Douglas Home Music Trust, John & Carol Wates, Christian Wells, and to those donors who wish to remain anonymous.

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