The Furman University Music Department will present a double bill of classic operas Dido and Aeneas and The Medium Thursday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. in McAlister Auditorium on campus.
Directed by Furman Professor of Voice Grant Knox, D.M., the operas are open to the public. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students.
Dido and Aeneas is co-presented with the Furman Chamber Choir and conducted by Furman Music Professor Bill Thomas, D.M. The opera features music by Henry Purcell and libretto by Nahun Tate. Based on the love story from Virgil’s Aeneid, this English baroque masterpiece features magnificent music, powerful drama, and striking intensity. Premiered in 1689, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas is one of the greatest operas composed between Monteverdi’s lifetime and Mozart’s.
Dido and Aeneas is the story of the legendary Queen of Carthage, Dido, and the Trojan prince, Aeneas. When Aeneas and his crew become shipwrecked in Carthage, he and the Queen fall in love. In the meantime, witches plot Dido’s destruction and a Sorceress has one of her followers impersonate Mercury who tells Aeneas he must leave Dido and found the new Troy. Forced to choose between passion and duty, Aeneas and his sailors prepare to leave, much to the witches’ delight. Dido, who cannot live without him, is absolutely heartbroken and awaits her death.
Furman Music Professor Hugh Floyd, D.M.A., conducts Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium. Composed in 1946, the psychologically disturbing and ghostly chamber opera tells the story of Baba, who, as “Madame Flora,” conducts bogus séances with her daughter Monica and a gypsy deaf-mute named Toby to extract money from bereaved parents. At a séance, she feels a pair of hands around her throat and panics. Has the spirit world come to punish her, or was it merely Toby, whom she treats abusively? Unable to get an answer to this question, she retreats to the bottle. At the end of the opera, startled from her stupor, she shoots the banished Toby, mistaking him for a ghost. “Was it you?” she rasps over his dead body.
For more information about the double feature, call the Furman Music Office at (864) 294-2086, or email the Music Department at email@example.com.