EASTERN EARLY MUSIC FORUM
Dido and Aeneas
A workshop with Peter Holman
The Old Chapel, Elsworth
ICHAEL Taylor's gloriously restored Old Baptist Chapel in Elsworth
I was not well acquainted with either Dido or Aeneas before this workshop. Having heard my attempt at Aeneas, I'm sure the other participants will attest to that fact. I found the day a fantastic opportunity to discover the work and others more familiar with it also found it rewarding. Some new discoveries for them were Peter's orchestral additions to the "conventional" edition which are apparently a flavour of what was once edited out. When Peter's edition knowledge fell short of encyclopaedic he could always refer to Clifford Bartlett's expertise shouted from the back of the chapel.
THE day ran very smoothly thanks to the attentiveness and organisational skills of Peter Holman, Selene Mills and Clifford Bartlett. A simple, tasty and substantial lunch was well earned and fuelled some productive afternoon work.
AFTER lunch the chorus were shepherded into another room which despite the lack of space for so many of us (I felt we gave a new meaning to the term "close harmony") proved a useful venue for a vocal workout with the aid of Purcell's Jehovah, quam multi sunt hostes mei. Nick Webb impressed us with his bass solo, entertaining everybody with his robust English-Latin pronunciation.
WE ended the day with a full run through with only a few brief stops. I admit to some bias (and so haven't mentioned my fiancee's stunning arias!) when I agree with Peter's verdict that some of it was done very well. Highlights for me were Selene Mills' brief appearance as one of many Didos, Eli Fosbrooke-Brown and Sarah Murphy as a pair of enchanting witches and the orchestra's Scottish dance accompanied by Clifford and Nick Webb foot-stamping on percussion.
Extracted from EEMF Newsletter 63, November 2006