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There is a chair and a fireplace that is falling. Above the fire place is a ship. Dido stands next to the fire place in a black dress.

Dido & Aeneas / Jonas / I will not speak

Autumn 2018

Henry Purcell / Giacomo Carissimi / Carlo Gesualdo

A rare concoction of 17th century music and opera
Autumn 2018
  • 5 Stars

    harmonies are rendered with exquisite beauty

    Music OMH

  • 4 Stars

    Bravo to English Touring Opera for such imaginative programming.

    The Telegraph

  • 4 Stars

    striking Triple Bill

    The Sunday Express

  • 4 Stars

    expressively sung, powerfully staged

    The Times

  • 4 Stars

    fluent staging

    The Stage


Dido and Aeneas

Act 1

In the palace of Carthage Dido is lovesick, but fate has forbidden her to love Aeneas. Her handmaiden Belinda tries to lighten her mood and encourages her to be joyful. Belinda encourages Dido to express her love for Aeneas, a union of both love and political gains for the Trojans and Carthaginians. Aeneas begs Dido to have pity on him, and promises that he will defy his fate of building a new empire to stay with Dido. Belinda and the people of Carthage encourage the union. Dido and Aeneas go hunting.

Act 2

Witches are gathered to a cave by a Sorceress; together they plot to make Dido unhappy through keeping her and Aeneas apart. They conjure a great storm during the hunt and the hunting party head back to town to escape it. Before he can leave, Aeneas is stopped by a Spirit posing as the god Mercury. The Spirit commands Aeneas to leave Carthage and follow his destiny.

Act 3

Sailors are preparing for their voyage. The witches rejoice at their success in tormenting the broken-hearted Dido. Aeneas joins Dido and Belinda before he must reluctantly set sail and leave Carthage. He expresses his sorrow, but Dido refuses to believe him and tells him to leave. Aeneas offers to stay,

to break the command of the gods, but Dido refuses. When Aeneas leaves, Dido’s fate is sealed.

The Book of Jonah

Chapter 1

God sent Jonah a message: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come
up before me.” But Jonah boarded a ship and fled in fear.
A great storm was sent which threatened the lives of all on board. Praying to their God made no difference so the sailors cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. They asked Jonah what he had done to bring on the storm and what they should do to appease his God. Jonah replied: “Pick me up and throw me into the sea and it will become calm”. Instead, the sailors tried to row for dry land but the sea became wilder. Begging their God for forgiveness, they threw Jonah overboard. The seas became calm. Before he drowned God sent a great fish which swallowed Jonah and he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Chapter 2

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to God. His prayer proclaimed there is no other God and that his God is salvation because he drew him out of the depths of the ocean. In the darkness he could see the temple of God which he will always make sacrifice to. After Jonah’s vow the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah and the Whale by Alma Sheppard-Matsuo

Chapter 3

The word of God came to Jonah a second time with the same message. This time, Jonah obeyed. Jonah proclaimed that the city of Nineveh will be overthrown. The people believed Jonah spoke the word of God. The King too believed and issued a command “Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks,
taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” God saw what they did and was merciful.

Chapter 4

This displeased Jonah and he was angry. He said to the Lord “This is why I fled because you are merciful and repent of evil”. Jonah went to sit outside of the city, to be a witness to what would happen to the city next. God sent a plant to grow above Jonah and keep him cool in the shade. However, God then sent a worm to eat the plant, followed by a scorching wind. The heat blazed on Jonah and he grew faint. Jonah was asked if he was angry that the plant, his source shade, had been destroyed, Jonah replied saying that he was angry. God replied to Jonah saying “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?”

I will Not Speak

  1. ‘O vos omnes’ – motet response in the Tenebrae service for Holy Saturday

    All ye that pass, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.

  2. Robert Southwell ‘Mary Magdalen’s Complaint at Christ’s Death’ (a)
  3. ‘Moro, lasso!’ (Book 6, Madrigals)
    I die, alas, and in my sorrow, who will give me back my life?

    Ah, she who kills me will not come to my aid.O sorrowful fate, she who would give me life, alas, gives me death.

  4. John Donne, ‘The Expiration’; George Herbert, ‘Vertue’ (b)
  5. ‘S’io non miro, io moro’ (Book 5, Madrigals) If I do not look upon you I will not die.Yet if I do not look upon you I am not alive.Thus I am dead, though life has not been taken from me. O strange fate, that living is not life, nor dying, death.
  6. Gesualdo’s crime
  7. Psalm 6
  8. ‘Beltà, che poi t’assenti’ (Book 6, Madrigals)Fair one, surely you must agree that he who has a heart mustalso bear its suffering.A tormented heart strongly feels the agony of death., But a soul without a heart cannot feel pain.
  9. St John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle, Book 1: ‘The Purgative Way’ (c)
  10. ‘Iotaceró’(Book4,Madrigals) I will be silent, and in my silence my tears and pain shall speak of my pain And when I shall die Death shall cry out for me again!
  11. St Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises: First Week, Fifth Exercise – ‘It is a Meditation on Hell’ (d)
  12. ‘Omnes amici mei’ – first motet response in the Tenebrae service for Good FridayAll my friends have forsaken me,And they that lay in ambush for me have prevailed: He whom I loved hath betrayed me,And with fierce looks they have cruelly struck me, And given me vinegar to drink.
  13. Vinea mea electa’ – fifth motet response in Tenebrae service for Holy Thursday
    O my chosen vineyard, I planted thee:
    How art thou turned to bitterness
    That thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?
  14. ‘Tenebraefactaesunt’–fifthmotetresponsein Matins service for Good Friday
    Darkness covered the earth, while the Jews crucified Jesus: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice:
    My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
    And bowing his head, He gave up the ghost.
    Jesus crying with a loud voice said Into thy hands I commend my spirit.