Purcell Dido and Aeneas
Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti
Maxine Braham Director
Anthony Kraus Conductor
This production of Dido and Aeneus is a contemporary performance of the classic tale of regal love and the challenges faced by our two eponymous heroes.
Bernstein wrote Trouble in Tahiti in 1952, telling the story of a well-off, suburban couple inexplicably alienated from each other, well before the age of social media, mobile phones, computers and everything we take for granted in the 21st century.
Running time: 2 hours (approx).
8th March - Pre-show talk at 6pm.
Why pair these two operas together? How might we use Dido and Aeneas as a lens to interrogate Trouble in Tahiti and vice versa? What insight can these two operas give us about modern day society?
Although their societal structures are different, Dido and Dinah find themselves struggling against similarly confining situations. Despite their apparent status in life -Dido, a ruling queen, and Dinah, a post World War II "liberated" woman -both women's lives are ultimately framed by the decisions made by the men surrounding them. Within the context of the opera, they are given no public arena in which to succeed; their stories are contained within a private realm. Aeneas and Sam put greater importance on their public lives-pleasing the gods and leading an army, winning sports games and making money-than on their private lives and it is their female partners that suffer because of it.
However, the musical structure of these two operas puts great importance on the private worlds of its female characters. The audience is privy to their internal struggles, their dreams and flights of fancy, their loneliness and isolation, and ultimately their heartbreaking losses. Even though the societies within these operas may not put great value on a lovesick woman or a depressed housewife, the musical setting does. It emphasises their pain, thus elevating their tragic endings.