Dido and Aeneas: from Virgil to Purcell
Time: 13:00 - 16:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD041C
Duration: 1 session
What is the course about?
The Emperor Augustus, believing that he was a descendant of Aeneas, requested that Virgil write an epic about this Trojan hero. Yet much about this tale from the Aeneid, Books 1-4, was changed by the time it was set to music by Henry Purcell, including complete removal of the characters Ascanius (Aeneas’s son) and Iarbas (the wrathful neighbouring king and suitor of the queen of Carthage).
This course will invite you to reflect on the changes to this story in its operatic setting – including Tate’s inclusion of north-west European characters into Virgil’s plot – and to explore the musical ingenuity of Henry Purcell.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
13.00-14.30 with Dr Nikoletta Manioti (Classics)
- A brief overview of the Aeneid Books 1-4
- An introduction to Dido and Aeneas as told by Virgil
15.00-16.30 with Dr Katy Hamilton (Music)
- The synopsis of Nahum Tate’s libretto
- Exploration of two key scenes: the witches cavern and Dido’s death
- An introduction to Purcell’s word setting.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Form an overview of the key differences between Virgil and Tate’s characters
- recognize key musical devices used by Purcell
- feel confident using some technical language to describe this work eg. recitativo accompagnato.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for absolute beginners. However, we will look at some music manuscripts and learn to identify key features of music notation (how many violins are playing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course:
The live session will be on Zoom and comprise of lecture, discussion, guided listening, video and score study. Course materials (handouts, links to online videos etc.) will be shared via Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
If using a tablet it will need a screen large enough for you to comfortably view the class handouts.
You may also wish to follow up some of the reading and music discussed in class; links to these materials will be available online after the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.