Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas' in the Roman Gym
impresses GIUSEPPE PENNISI
Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is quintessential British music; written and composed for a young ladies' 'finishing school' and premiered in or around 1689, the short opera (around sixty minutes) has rightly been considered for centuries as the 'masterpiece' of British Baroque. Thus, it was quite a surprise when it was announced that this year the Caracalla Festival -- ie the Summer Season of Rome's Teatro dell'Opera -- will start with Dido and Aeneas rather than with a nationally-popular war horse like Aida, Nabucco or Turandot. Well, next to the two-thousand-seat main auditorium in the central part of the Baths of Caracalla ruins, there is the Eastern Gymnasium -- not a small place (roughly 80 by 30 metres) but fully walled and thus with a good acoustic. The orchestra is on the left side of the gym, the stage in the center and an arch opens to a long and large concourse of what used to be Roman baths...
Copyright © 16 June 2013