Sebastian Ukena - Musiktheaterregie

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Dido and Aeneas


In an astute, modern take on this centuries-old piece, the production team made ingenious use of their limited space and resources.
In a surprising final twist Aeneas, instead of being carried away by the Gods, is shot by Dido and Cox performs her final aria, When I am Laid in Earth, in a white wedding gown soaked with blood before turning the gun on herself.
(The Herald)
About Turn's Dido and Aeneas is an innovative new production of a timeless opera, featuring an ensemble of very talented emerging performers. The young company have modernised Purcell's classic baroque work, creating an exciting, visually stunning hour of music. […]
The lights dim and we hear the sound of fighter planes, as the opera takes a dark turn. Dido enters in the wedding dress, sits, drinks, while somewhat meta-theatrically playing music from the opera on an old-fashioned radio. Aeneas appears in his pilot's uniform and the show spirals toward its climax. When I am laid in earth, or Dido's Lament as it is often known, as performed in the show remains one of the most tragic and moving of arias in the history of opera.
This is a mesmerising, modern take which works powerfully by bringing the tragedy of the classical lovers into the twentieth century. The fate of war-torn families bears a strong resemblance to the inevitability of Dido's abandonment. The production will appeal to new audiences and existing fans of the opera. With strong individual performances from the lead roles, a great supporting cast of singers and a beautifully detailed set, Dido and Aeneas is not a show to miss.
(Broadway Baby)
A three-sided curtain shields the stage from the prying eyes of the audience, acting as the screen around the hospital bed where a wounded Aeneas is being treated by a chorus of nurses, prior to receiving a visit from his love, Dido. The curtains fall away to reveal a hessian floor - this is a field hospital - and an array of superb costumes and props that would look good on any West End stage. Nurses morph into sorcerers, attendants and back to nurses again with seamless efficiency. Lighting was supportive and sound was used as an effective adjunct to the score, particularly as Aeneas abandons Dido. […]
This is a timeless piece by one of England's foremost composers and this was the most innovative interpretation I have seen in a long time. It was also in the top flight from a technical point of view, namely the singing and orchestration. The About Turn Theatre Company is clearly going places. Highly recommended.
(Fringe Review)

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