Travel and the idea of leaving of home left a deep impression on the British mindset in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Purcell imagined distant worlds – timeless and brave, new and old – in his operas The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, The Tempest and Dido and Aeneas. In this programme Purcell’s music is curated by our musicians to provide a dramatic counterpoint to a reading of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by actor Rory Kinnear.
The promise of adventure on the high seas as a symbol for spiritual discovery is found throughout literature of the Enlightenment. Think Candide, Gulliver’s Travels and the emergence of the travelogue. It reached a peak around the time of Captain James Cook’s expeditions to Australia and Antarctica, and with the publication of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ in 1798. There’s a reminder too that there were was often a dark side and consequences for those caught up in these expeditions.