Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Elizabeth Kenny / Steven Devine HENRY PURCELL Dido & Aeneas

Here is England’s first great opera presented with a truly cohesive sense of theatrical purpose, one which unusually allows the drama to unfold in a close identification with each of the cameo characters… we have a supremely wide-ranging, tragic and experienced queen from the start, inhabiting the shadows of ‘Ah! Belinda’ with early signs of deplorable fate, which are accentuated by an extended symphony luxuriating poignantly on this resonating conceit… Lucy Crow’s Belinda is a splendid foil for Connolly’s self-absorption, with her astute and increasingly desperate buoying up.
(Gramophone Editor’s Choice)
There are many recordings of Dido and Aeneas, and I am convinced that this one must rank among the finest. Sarah Connolly assembled the cast and played a major part in the artistic decisions, including the insertion of pieces of additional music. She brings to the role of Dido a regal gravity that is indispensable for a convincing portrayal… The success or failure of a performance of Dido can depend on the celebrated lament. Here Sarah Connolly takes a very slow tempo, but the dramatic tension and musical direction are never in jeopardy. It is an exquisitely eloquent reading. (American Record Guide) 
From the outset, Connolly exudes imposing presence, pathos and unassailable dignity; her Act III Lament consummates a deeply-felt empathy with the role… Purcell year will doubtless bring a crop of highly cherishable performances; Connolly’s Dido already sets the bar decidedly high. (BBC Music Magazine 'Choice')

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