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It was composed no later than July 1688, It recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her.
A monumental work in Baroque opera, Dido and Aeneas is remembered as one of Purcell's foremost theatrical works.
Harris considers the callousness and cynicism of the song to underline the "moral" of the story, that young women should not succumb to the advances and promises of ardent young men.
is an opera in a prologue and three acts, written by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate.
The dates of the composition and first performance of the opera are uncertain.
It would be noble, or at least acceptable, for Aeneas to follow the decree of the Gods, but not so acceptable for him to be tricked by ill-meaning spirits.Although the opera is a tragedy, there are numerous seemingly lighter scenes, such as the First Sailor's song, "Take a boozy short leave of your nymphs on the shore, and silence their mourning with vows of returning, though never intending to visit them more." Musicologist Ellen T.Before Dido and Aeneas, Purcell composed music for several stage works, including nine pieces for Nathaniel Lee's Theodosius, or The Force of Love (1680) and eight songs for Thomas d'Urfey's A Fool's Preferment (1688).He also composed songs for two plays by Nahum Tate (later the librettist of Dido and Aeneas), The Sicilian Usurper (1680) and Cuckold-Haven (1685).
It was also Purcell's first opera, as well as his only all-sung dramatic work.
One of the earliest English operas, it owes much to John Blow's Venus and Adonis, both in structure and in overall effect.