Our Southbank Centre concerts kick off tonight where we’re going all out to prove that Not All Audiences Are The Same, and we want you to help us.Read More
In Part 3 of our guide to female opera characters, we’re looking into the life of famous queen Dido…and tonight at the Royal Festival Hall, Anna Caterina Antonacci will be portraying the lady herself in an aria from Berlioz’s grand opera Les Troyens.
Who was she?
Dido was founder and queen of Carthage. She fled her home of Tyre when her brother murdered her husband and she settled with her followers in North Africa.
The new city of Carthage was flourishing when the Trojan hero Aeneas arrived on his way to Italy to found what would eventually be Rome. However, when he stopped in Carthage the goddess Venus made Dido fall in love with him and for a while Aeneas postponed his quest. When he eventually left, Dido was heartbroken and committed suicide, cursing Aeneas and his descendants. Aeneas later met Dido in the underworld but she refused to forgive him even in death.
What was she famous for?
Dido is most famous for the Roman poet Virgil’s account of her romance Aeneas in The Aeneid. The story of their doomed romance was used by Christopher Marlowe, Henry Purcell and Sasha Waltz.
Dido has a popstar, a computer game character, a mathematical problem and an asteroid named after her.
Was she a queen, heroine or ladykiller?
Dido was a queen first and foremost. Before Aeneas arrived on the scene, she was an accomplished leader known for her wisdom. When she originally asked for land to build Carthage she was told she could have only the amount of land an ox hide could cover – to get round this she had the hide cut into one long strip which meant she had enough land to build a whole city!
Who will be singing Dido and when?
Anna Caterina Antonacci will sing Je vais mourir…Adieu, fière cité from Berlioz’s Les Troyens at Three eras of divas on 30 September 2012. You can listen to it here
Sarah Connolly will be singing When I am laid in earth from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in French Exchange on Thursday 8 November 2012.Read More
Our 2012-2013 Southbank Centre season is now on public sale. It all starts off on 30 September when Emeritus Conductor Sir Roger Norrington returns to us to conduct a programme of Haydn, Cherubini, Gluck, Berlioz and Bizet that not only starts our season but also our 5-event series celebrating strong female roles in opera, Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers. The season continues through until June 2013 with artists appearing including Sarah Connolly, Sir Simon Rattle, András Schiff, Marin Alsop and William Christie. Also during the year our new The Works series continues and we greatly expand our OAE TOTS series of events for those aged 6 and under, with 6 events thoughout the year. The Night Shift will also continue, with performances being announced later.
Details of all performances are now online on our site, or you can alternatively browse the ‘virtual’ concert diary below.
Concerts can be booked through Southbank Centre online or on 0844 847 9922Read More