I doubt that any opera company in recent history has spent more time exploring Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas than Opera Atelier. It was our first fully-mounted production at the Royal Ontario Museum more than thirty years ago, and we have since toured our production to major venues in England (Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms 100th anniversary), France (Royal Opera House, Versailles), Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and throughout the US. Past Opera Atelier productions have featured some of Canada’s finest sopranos in the title role including Catherine Robbin, Jean Stillwell, Monica Whicher, and now the superb young mezzo, Wallis Giunta.
This work, like all great works of art, never pales. As we grow and develop as people and as artists, we find there is always something new to discover and new depths to explore in Nahum Tate’s libretto, and Purcell’s glorious score. For our current performances, we have stripped the production down considerably, focusing more than ever on clear, coherent storytelling, and the opera’s inherent tension between the rigid formality of a courtly world at odds with the most visceral of human emotions.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my entire artistic team, most of whom have explored this opera with me for more than thirty years. Their continued enthusiasm and support acts as a constant catalyst. Finally, a sincere thanks to our extraordinary cast of singing actors, dancers, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, all of whom have invested this project with a renewed sense of freshness and discovery.
- Marshall Pynkoski
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