Opera — Dido, Queen of Carthage
The tragic fate of the Carthaginian queen Dido is the stuff operas are made of: Desirable, powerful, exotic, and beautiful, she gives her heart to the Trojan hero Aeneas, but he leaves her to pursue a career in Italy. Dido climbs a burning pyre and stabs herself with her lover’s sword.
Around 90 composers, from Purcell to Berlioz, have turned to this story, which is also theatrically effective. One of them was Christoph Graupner, a respected and extremely creative German composer. Thanks to the prudence of his descendants, his highly interesting scores have been preserved, but are unfortunately rarely performed.
Graupner’s opera “Dido, Queen of Carthage” has also hardly ever been heard in modern times. The premiere took place in 1707 at the Gänsemarkttheater in Hamburg, where experienced colleagues such as Keiser and Mattheson worked alongside the young Graupner as musicians, singers, and composers. Händel, who was two years younger than Graupner, had left the Gänsemarkttheater for Italy the previous year. Graupner’s three-act “Singspiel” about Dido and Aeneas is extremely varied, as many small numbers still formed the structure of an opera at that time. As was customary in Hamburg, only some of these are sung in Italian. Other parts and the recitatives are written in German, which makes it easier to understand the plot.
The La Cetra Barockorchester and Vokalensemble under the direction of Andrea Marcon will perform Graupner’s opera together with a high-caliber cast of soloists, including soprano Robin Johannsen, bass-baritone Andreas Wolf, tenor Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, soprano Alicia Amo, baritone José Antonio López, tenor Jorge Franco, and the young up-and-coming Swiss soprano Chelsea Zurflüh. This concert promises a splendid Swiss premiere of this German baroque opera!
Tickets are CHF 30-90, half price for students, and CHF 5 for youth under age 14.