Choir, orchestra, soloists to perform Baroque opera

Choir, orchestra, soloists to perform Baroque opera Two performances of composer Henry Purcell's English Baroque opera, Dido and Aeneas, will be made Feb. 28 and March 1 by The University of South Dakota University Choir, the USD Chamber Orchestra, student solo vocalists and USD Professors John Thomson and Richard Rognstad.

Performances are 8 p.m. in Slagle Hall Auditorium Sunday, Feb. 28 and Monday, March 1 in Epply Auditorium in Sioux City.

USD Professor Linell Gray Moss will conduct the performance, with lighting, costume design and stage direction by Ken Oakley. USD History Professor Clayton Lehmann will open the performance with a pre-opera talk entitled "Offend the Gods and Love Obey."

Admission is $5 for the general public, $3 for senior citizens and students, and $2 for USD students with a student ID.

The opera features witches, sailors, courtiers, and often, like the chorus of ancient Greek theatre, comment upon the actions of the characters, using foreshadowing, irony and empathy.

Thomson and Rognstad will perform on the violin and the cello, respectively. Vocal soloists include Traci Dybvig, Baltic, Susan Almfeld, Mitchell, Matthew Hainje, Sioux Falls, Gretchen Burbach, Vermillion, Mandy Ruddy, Pocahontas, IA, Elizabeth Bennett, Sioux City, IA, Bradley Hanson, Sioux City, IA, Scott Byrom of Storm Lake, IA, and Sonja Olson, Fargo, ND.

Dido and Aeneas, an English Baroque opera written by Henry Purcell in 1689, is based on the mythological story recounted by the Roman poet Virgil in his epic poem Aeneid.

The Trojan hero Aeneas and his followers are sailing westward after the fall of Troy to the Greeks. A storm engulfs the fleet, and they land at Carthage on the northeast coast of Africa.

Carthage is ruled by Dido whose ancestry is Phoenician. Dido and Aeneas fall in love but the gods decree that he shall return to Italy.

In Purcell's opera, a sorceress and her coven of witches enact a spell to carry out the decree of the gods, and cause the destruction of Dido and her city.

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