Dido & Aeneas / Elissa (world premiere)

Fri. 23.6.—Tue. 27.6.2023
Elissa / Dido & Aeneas | © Fabian Helmich
Dido & Aeneas / Elissa (world premiere)
Fri 23.6.2023 — Tue 27.6.2023

More than 330 years after the premiere of Henry Purcell's only complete opera, the French composer Henry Fourès composed a setting for Dido and Aeneas and called it "Elissa". A second name for the queen that allows the character to exist on her own, without a direct link to Aeneas. Fourès develops her from questioning voices and sounds that revolve around themes from today. They interweave with the myth, which comes to the surface piece by piece. Elissa becomes Dido and takes on her destiny. With a libretto by Elisabeth Gutjahr.

  • Opera in three acts by Henry Purcell after a libretto by Nahum Tate

  • Prelude and Postlude by Henry Fourès after texts by Elisabeth Gutjahr - world premiere

Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, confesses her love for the hero Aeneas to Belinda. Against her fears and reservations, he returns Dido's love and convinces her to marry him. To prevent this, and thus bring disaster to Dido and Carthage, a sorceress sends a spirit in the form of Mercury to remind Aeneas of his duty to resurrect Troy. Aeneas confesses to Dido his decision to leave after all and leaves her forever.

Purcell's final notes are then followed by a final search for words that previously seemed unspeakable, leading Elissa and Dido back to themselves once more. 


The opera will also be performed on 29 and 30 August 2023 as part of the Baroque Summer Academy in Siena. A production of the Departments of Opera and Musical Theatre, Early Music and Scenography. In cooperation with the Accademia Chigiana.


  • Musikalische Leitung: Kai Röhrig
  • Regie: Rosamund Gilmore
  • Bühne & Kostüme: Carla Schwering
  • Dramaturgie & Projektion: Eike Mann
  • Choreinstudierung: Giorgio Musolesi
  • Ltg. Vokalensemble und Maestro suggeritore: Giorgio Musolesi
  • Szenische Assistenz: Antonia Pumberger
  • Musikalische Assistenz: Chariklia Apostolu, Lenka Hebr, Niuniu Liu
  • Continuo: Chariklia Apostolu