Henry Purcell (1659–1695): Dido & Aeneas (1689?)
The first production of 2017 was Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas in the confines of the Space for Free Arts in a disused bunker in Helsinki’s Kallio district. There were only two performances, but by popular and critical demand, two performances were added in November.
“There were only two performances of the opera, so anyone wishing to see it will either have to convince the group to put it on again or arrange for a private show.” – Hufvudstadsbladet, 4.4.2017
The performance was in conjunction with the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki, and all the roles in the opera were taken by members of the ensemble, including Iida Antola, winner of the Kangasniemi singing competition, in the title role.
“Iida Antola in the role of Dido was spectacular. Fantastic voice and stunning presence. You don’t often hear the aria “When I am laid” sung so perfectly! You could really feel the pain of the dying Dido.” – oopperadonna.blogspot.fi , 4.4.2017
The action of the opera was transferred to the modern day TV studio during the filming of a reality TV pilot. Iko Raatikainen’s production garnered rave reviews, and created a new level of accessibility to opera and early music.
“Few opera performances have felt so relaxed” – Wilhelm Kvist, HBL, 4.4.2017
The performances were accompanied by Baroque ensemble Dido’s Train.
Read the full reviews here:
- Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish), Wilhelm Kvist 4.4.2017
- Ooppera Blog (in Finnish) 2.4.2017
- Oopperadonna Blog 4.4.2017
Henry Purcell – Dido & Aeneas
Space for the free arts, Vilhonvuorenkuja 15-16, 00101 Helsinki
Director: Iko Raatikainen
Lighting: Jaakko Sirainen
Make-up: Stephanie Korhonen
Speaking roles: Jonnakaisa Risto (April) and Juuso Timonen
Kaisa Ruotsalainen, Noora Hirvelä, Anna Pohjola (April), Eerika Pynnönen (November), Anna Pulakka and Julia Tamminen