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<<  -- 4 --  Robert Hugill    STRONG PERFORMANCES

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Dance made quite a strong contribution to the opera, as it ought, with the cast flexibly moving in and out of formal dances. David Stout's Aeneas very effectively used the formal dances as a means of seduction; Stout and Thome's relationship was well developed -- they convinced us that they were falling in love. The role of Aeneas can seem under written, and Stout was good at using the movement to help project Aeneas's character.

Thome's final scene was profoundly moving. In keeping with the staging's emphasis on dressing up and costume, she shed her 17th century clothes and sang the lament just in her shift, embracing Aeneas's discarded coat. Thome was the only non English speaker in the cast and whilst her English was comprehensible, I felt that she was not always completely comfortable.

Joana Thome as Dido in English Touring Opera's production of Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas'. Photo © 2006 Keith Pattison
Joana Thome as Dido in English Touring Opera's production of Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas'. Photo © 2006 Keith Pattison

Productions of Dido and Aeneas can often be overloaded with far too much baggage for such a short opera. In this staging Helen Eastman opted for clarity and simplicity and was rewarded by strong performances from her cast. This was a fine performance and the singers were ably supported by Matthew Halls and his small band.

Copyright © 17 October 2006 Robert Hugill, London UK

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