THE SCOOP | Opera Atelier opens the 2022/23 season with familiar faces and a scene in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’

Opera Atelier artists in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ (Photo courtesy of Opera Atelier)

Opera Atelier’s 2022/23 season opener is marked by returns – the return of the company to the elegant Elgin Theatre, and of soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale.

“We are delighted to return to the Elgin Theatre, after a four-year absence, with the extraordinary work of Purcell, Dido and Aeneas,” said Marshall Pynkoski, CM, founding co-artistic director in a press release. “Roughly an hour long, the opera also works wonderfully as an introduction to the art form for audiences who have not yet experienced opera or ballet, including children and adults. young adults.”

Purcell’s opera tells a story of Greek mythology from Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, of Dido, Queen of Carthage, and her obsessive passion for the Trojan prince Aeneas. The opera, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, was composed in 1689. There are witches and magic in the story, as well as music and dancing.

Opera Atelier artists in 'Dido and Aeneas' (Photo courtesy of Opera Atelier)
Opera Atelier artists in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ (Photo courtesy of Opera Atelier)

Manufacturing details

The all-Canadian cast will collectively debut their roles.

  • Soprano Meghan Lindsay and tenor Colin Ainsworth play Dido and Aeneas;
  • Soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee is the Wicked Witch;
  • Soprano Mireille Asselin plays Belinda;
  • Other cast members include soprano Cynthia Akemi Smithers, mezzo soprano Danielle MacMillan and tenor Spencer Britten making her Opera Atelier debut;
  • Set and costume design by Gerard Gauci and lighting design by Kimberly Purtell.

Pynkoski directs the 60-minute production, featuring the full body of Atelier Ballet performers, and choreography by founding co-artistic director Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, CM Atelier Music Director David Fallis will conduct October 20-22 , and Opera Atelier Deputy Music Director Christopher Bagan will make his Opera Atelier conducting debut on October 23.

“The Opera Atelier production of Dido and Aeneas restores dance to the central role it occupied in its original production. There were 17 dances when the opera premiered in 1689, ten of which were staged by Opera Atelier,” explains Lajeunesse Zingg. “The artists of the Atelier Ballet will be perfectly integrated into the staging in the roles of courtiers, witches, sailors and spirits.”

Alongside the performance, audience members can come early for pre-performance talks led by soprano Karine White, Professor Roberto Nickel and Dr. Hilary Donaldson before each performance in the Lower Lobby of the Elgin Theater 45 minutes before curtain time.

Opera Atelier presents Dido and Aeneas October 20 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and October 23 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets here.


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