Although it takes little more than an hour to perform, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas stands as the greatest operatic achievement of seventeenth-century England. This book demonstrates the opera's deep roots in the theatrical and musical traditions of its day, summarizing the cultural climate in which the opera was composed and analyzing Nahum Tate's libretto in light of seventeenth-century English music text conventions. Harris also evaluates the surviving sources, comparing them with the original libretto, and discusses the work's performance history and critical reception from the first performance through the revivals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
`A fascinating study of the reception of the opera from the late eighteenth century to the post-war Purcell revival.' Curtis Price, Early Music History
`a breath of fresh air...Harris has made a significant contribution to the history of performance practice' Times Literary Supplement
`concentrated, full of interest' Opera
`Here is an exemplary manual for the performer that is as rewarding for the general listener, and one no less illuminating for either.' Music and Musicians
`a useful summary of current thinking about Dido and Aeneas.' Margaret Laurie, Music and Letters