On Thursday we attended Opera Atelia’s student night performance of Dido and Aenius at the Elgin Theatre. Being the oldest theatre in Toronto, The Elgin added a historic ambiance to this traditional Baroque opera with its elegantly gilded interior. Stepping into the theatre, it was like traveling back in time to the 17th century when English composer, Henry Purcell, would have premiered this performance. Dido and Aenius is a tragic story of love, trickery, and betrayal.
Sailors and witches provided a little comic relief before the tragic ending of death and dismay.
The performance featured accompanying artists, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Toronto Children’s Chorus Choral Scholars, who filled the theatre with beautiful music to accompany the vocalists on stage. The dancers were stunningly dressed and danced as though they were floating across the stage through a magical set display.
To make the opera accessible to this century’s audience, it began with the addition of a prologue to explain the background and setting of the opera that was interpreted by an ASL interpreter. During the performance, there were surtitles being displayed on small screens in front of the audience so they could follow along. It was wonderful to see the opera come to life in such an accessible way.
Having studied Baroque opera in university, it was amazing to see a live performance in my own city. I loved watching all the different artistic components come together to create such a powerful production. It was great to experience a different opera company in the city and I will definitely keep Opera Atelier on my radar for future performances!
– Rachel Murad
Opera Atelier’s Dido and Aeneas at Elgin Theatre
What a perfect show to see in a cold and windy October night! We had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the revival of 17th century English Baroque Opera Dido and Aeneas put up by the world-renowned Opera Atelier Company. There couldn’t be a better venue for an event of this kind! Dido and Aeneas was put up at Elgin Theatre on Yonge. The show started with a narrative prologue by Irene Poole, and consisted of 4 Acts with the intermission in between. This show is absolutely worth to be identified as the “high-end show”. Costumes were dazzling, decorations were spectacular, the dance and opera performances were breathtaking!
The combination of the show and the venue could not create a more wonderful experience for the audience. The show was meant to leave people with the impression of how the authentic English opera looked like back in the days, and, I must admit, the mission was accomplished. Opera Atelier is performing their Medea in Toronto in April 2017 as well as in Versaille, Paris, in May 2017 to celebrate Canada 150’s anniversary. We are looking forward to their future shows!
– Alina Nemyrovska