Sanne Thierens dans Bachtrack (3 avril 2014)

What happened after Dido died? BarokOpera Amsterdam’s Dido and Aeneas

2014-04-03....artistic and musical leader Frédérique Chauvet and director Sybrand van der Werf continue to tell Virgil’s story of Dido and Aeneas’ meeting in the underworld. The artistic team uses musical material from Purcell’s contemporaries such as Jean-Baptiste Matho, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Georg Friedrich Händel. With additional texts by Virgil in a Dutch translation, this leads to a rich mixture of English, French and Dutch singing and speaking. This, however, is not disturbing, because the second half (although it ends too abruptly) adds up naturally to what now has become the first. BarokOpera Amsterdam’s Dido and Aeneas is the paragon of how to create a high quality performance with limited means. The scenery is minimalistic, and the basic costumes have pallid shades of primary colours. This version of the chamber opera does not require excessive sets or lavish costumes (although Charon’s costume, blue with glitter and an immensely long train that represents the river he watches from the second act is incredible. And so are the costumes of his jellyfishy dementor-like guards). The company, of only four men and two women, convincingly perform Purcell’s light-hearted music. Particularly strong is countertenor Jan Kullman, who amuses with his pleasant, solid sound. Caroline Cartens is convincing as Dido and presents a moving lament. Here, she gathers her last bit of strength as she calls out “Remember me”, only to follow with a soft “forget my fate”. (This performance inevitably lead to theatre-goers attempting to imitate her in the intermission, singing in a variety of keys except the right one!) But the strongest singer, as well as actress, was Wendy Roobol, who played a sweet, loyal Belinda, and surprised in a variety of other guises including those of sorceress, monster, and Peace. Her beautiful clear voice without vibrato was enchanting.