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Review: DIDO AND AENEAS at Bodhi Tree Concerts is filled with 'Music, Love, Magic, And Tragedy'

Review: DIDO AND AENEAS at Bodhi Tree Concerts is filled with 'Music, Love, Magic, And Tragedy'

Dido and Aeneas runs through Sunday, September 25th.

The English opera DIDO AND AENEAS may clock in under an hour, but this production by Bodhi Tree Concerts is a delightful evening spent at a theatre. Performances are only this weekend through Sunday, September 25th so don't delay!

Dido (Victoria Mature) is the widowed Queen of Carthage, and her sister Belinda (Katherine Polit) is trying to cheer her up. She suggests that maybe Dido and Carthage would be happier with Trojan warrior Aeneas ( Evan White) by her side. Aeneas comes to court and at first, is rebuffed by Dido but eventually, she warms to his presence.

Unbeknownst to the pair, the Sorceress (Walter DuMelle) and the Witches (Danielle Perrault and Timmy Simpson) hate Dido and have a plan to destroy her happiness and bring Carthage down.

Mature as Dido has a lovely presence and her performance of Dido's lament is beautiful. White as Aeneas is strong and sings his part well, while also carrying the weight of a man tempted to defy an order from the gods for his love of Dido.

Dumelle as the Sorceress, along with Perrault and Simpson's Witches are delightful as the coven who woke up and chose violence as a means to entertain themselves. (Disclaimer: I love a villain)

Polit has a clear and sweet soprano, and the ensemble brings a strong blend of harmonies to support all of the action and music. The ensemble includes Mary Rose Vadeboncoeur, Michelle Arias, Daniel Moyer, Jonathan Nussman, as well as supernumeraries Marina Hall, Kaya Osgard-Moore, Jordan Sener, and Isabella Valenzuela.

Stage Directed by Vanessa Dinning the show has moments of sweetness, suspense, and humor as the story comes together, while also painting some vivid visuals on stage. Especially evocative is a moment with Dido in a sheet that calls to mind both a shroud and Cupid's wings.

Choreography by Michael Mizerany is very effective ranging from Regency ballroom to modern rock, and in between. The sharp delineation between the movements of the mortals versus the Sorceress and those in the witch's magical thrall is striking. Another dance standout is a ballet moment from Marina Hall, who also played Mercury.

Music Director Brendan Nguyen and the talented live musicians; Jonathan Nussman on bass, Adrian Evarkiou-Kakuand Haroldreeves on violins,Travis Marcilon on the viola, Peter Ko on cello, and Justin Hansen on the harpsicord make some truly beautiful music. The music for the Sorceress and Witches is delightfully dramatic and rock-inspired which is both fun and reflects both their intent and their inherent need for drama.

Performed at the Bread and Salt performance space, the set design by Jerry DeLane has an intimacy that fits the piece while still allowing for movement and multiple performance locations. Lighting Design by Jenifer Edwards is lovely, especially with the color for the Sorceress and the witches. Costumes by Marcene Drysdale complement and complete the aesthetic.

Written by Henry Purcell with Libretto by Nahum Tate DIDO AND AENEAS the show is filled with music, love, magic, and tragedy all told in 55 minutes -what more could you want in an evening?

How To Get Tickets

DIDO AND AENEAS by Bodhi Tree Concerts have three performances through September 25th at Bread and Salt in Logan Heights. Tickets are $40 for General Admission and are available online at bodhitreeconcerts.org

Profits will be donated to Summit for Stem Cell Foundation whose Mission is to support, educate and raise awareness about the development of today's and tomorrow's evidence-based regenerative medical therapies focused on Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders

In its eleventh season, Bodhi Tree Concerts continues to uphold its mission of performing intentional acts of kindness through music. The group hires exclusively local artists to inspire community engagement, philanthropy, and enlightenment through music.

Photo Credit: Ken Jacques




From This Author - E.H. Reiter


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