I was looking around for recordings of the Purcell songs I am now working on (“What can we poor females do” and “Music for a while”) and I found these three interesting takes on Dido’s final scene in Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”.
The first is the most innovative. It is performed by the Swingle Singers. I really like the jazz take on the music–isn’t it neat how human sorrow translates across styles and centuries?
This second one may be the most famous version, performed by Janet Baker. I had never performed this piece as a request and an apology to Belinda (Dido’s sister) but I always sang it to all of Dido’s subjects. Here Janet Baker performs a much more personal version which branches off into a more general appeal.
I couldn’t figure out what language the aria is being translated into–maybe an eastern European or Asian language? I like how much she plays with the notes here.
The one thing I did not like in all of the version I found was that Dido is always in fancy delicate clothes. Now, having read The Aeneid in English and Latin, there is no doubt in my mind that Dido was a fighter if not a Warrior Queen. She single-handedly forged a colony out of the wilderness for her and her people to live in peace away from her brother. She is not the kind of woman to be wearing little wispies of nothing or a huge frilly hoop skirt–not with a country to run and battles to fight. The whole point was how devastating different her lovesickness for Aeneas was from her usual habits.
Anyhoo, other than a disturbing trend to make Dido excessively fem, I liked all of these videos and hope you do as well!
Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning. – Bill Gates