Sasha Waltz premieres Dido & Aeneas at Teatro Real, in an opera and dance version

The Teatro Real premiere this March 31 Dido & Aeneas, in the version of opera and dance conceived by the German choreographer Sasha Waltz. She along with twelve dancers of the company Sasha Waltz & Guest and nine singers make up the cast of this “opera danced” Baroque. The musical direction will be in charge of Christopher Molds, with the participation of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Vocalconsort Berlin.


On March 31 the Teatro Real receives, for the second time in its recent history, the visit of the company Sasha Waltz & Guest, which will offer one of its most emblematic works, Dido & Aeneas, in which dance and opera dialogue and they pass over the stage giving life toscore Henry Purcel’s, exchanging their original identity to build a whole.


The German choreographer’s artistic proposal uniquely combines the contemporary expression of twelve dancers with the lyric language, where the soprano Marie-Claude Chappuis, in the role of Queen Dido, and Nikolay Borchev, giving life to the Trojan hero, are part of the scene and the general choreography next to the voices of Aphrodite Patoulidou (Belinda), Yannis François (The sorceress), Luciana Mancini (second wife), Ziad Nehme (first witch) and Michael Smallwood (spirit).


The musical direction will be in charge of Christopher Molds, with the participation of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Vocalconsort Berlin.


This will be the first time that the Teatro Real will offer Dido & Aeneas in a stage version, and it does so starting from the very genesis of the opera, for which Purcell, composing in the English custom of the time, develops the dramatic action interspersing instrumental dances . Sasha Waltz picks up the original idea and transforms the verb, and the sensory world, into images of great plasticity through a choreography of enormous physical demand for the dancers, whose gestures represent much more than a simplistic narration of the plot.


Thus, Waltz immerses us in the heartrending love story of Dido, almost literally. The presence of water, of that sea that brings Aeneas, but that is also the path through which he abandons the arms of the beloved, is placed in the center of the scenography, designed by Sasha herself in collaboration with Thomas Schenk, with a huge transparent tank in which the lovers dancers meet.


Henry Purcell counted on the collaboration of Nahum Tate for the elaboration of the libretto. Tate, based on his own work Brutus of Alba, or the Enchanted Lovers and Virgil ‘s Aeneid, builds a simple narration in which the characters lack psychological load and the plot flows continuously and lightly, easily understood by the viewer, what allows the brilliance of an extraordinary music.


Dido & Aeneas is, without a doubt, one of the most important compositions of the English Baroque, and one of the best known of Purcell. In contrast to the dry recitatives of his Italian contemporaries, lighter reflections, shorter arias, moving melodies are heard here and the choir has a dramatic presence in the most theatrical sense of the term, picking up the tradition of religious music.


Teatro Real has previously offered two interpretations of this opera. The first, in a concert version in 2013, was performed by the Baroque MusicAeterna and the Perm Opera Choir and Orchestra, under the direction of Teodor Currentzis and with the voices of Simone Kermes (Dido), Dimitris Tiliakos (Aeneas) and Nuria Rial (Belinda), in the leading roles. The second, in 2015, was part of the youth programming of El Real Junior, for which the stage director, set designer and costume designer Rafael Villalobos made an adaptation of the dramaturgy and staging.


Dido & Aeneas  is produced by Sasha Waltz & Guests and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, in co-production with the Staatsoper in Berlin, the Grand Théâtre de la Ville in Luxembourg and the Opéra National de Montepellier.