Opera Atelier is making their triumphant return to the Elgin Theatre with their production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Originally written for a girl’s school performance in 1689, Dido and Aeneas is given a new, magnificent life in this production, directed by Marshall Pynkoski and conducted by David Fallis. Featuring artists from the Atelier Ballet, Tafelmusik, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale and the Bach Children’s Chorus, this is a true spectacle that you MUST witness for yourself!

Dido and Aeneas tells the tragic tale of the Queen of Carthage and the King of Troy as written in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid.” Featuring an incredible cast of characters including a sorceress and her witches who have a serious case of schadenfreude, some unfaithful sailors, and a host of elegant, dancing courtiers, Purcell has created a vibrant world for Virgil’s story.

The grandeur of the sets and costumes was unbelievable; with the costumes harkening back to the era when the opera was written, and stunning scenic design making use of multiple painted screens and set pieces, it was a true feast for the eyes. The technical aspects for the storm the witches brew up was awesome; the way the stage lit up in time with the rolls of the tympani, it gave me goosebumps! I also really enjoyed that the pit was exposed and you could see many of the musicians; it added a whole other level to the experience.

The soloists featured in this production are astonishingly talented. Meghan Lindsay and Colon Ainsworth play the titular couple, and it was easy for me to understand why they’re fan favourites. When Lindsay was gearing up for her aria in the final act, you could tell that everyone was on pins and needles waiting, and she certainly did not disappoint. Measha Brueggergosman-Lee was so enchanting as the sorceress that she became my favourite character with just one appearance on stage; every time she entered again to fulfill more of her dastardly plot, you could feel the excitement in the audience. Her fellow witches played by Danielle MacMillan and Cynthia Akemi Smithers add to the hilarity of the Sorceress’ scenes, they were so quirky and funny. Rounding out the impressive soloists in this production are Mireille Asselin as Dido’s sister Belinda and Spencer Britten as the Sailor. Both artists shine in their roles and their voices soared over the audience.

            This is the perfect opera to attend if you’ve never experienced opera before; it’s in English, it’s an hour long, and it’s at the stunning Elgin theatre. What more could you ask for? Opera has something for everyone, music, singing, dancing, and beautiful design; it’s a delightful feast for the senses sure to entrance every audience member. For more information and tickets visit: Dido & Aeneas | Opera Atelier

Photo by Bruce Zinger


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