Scenic Baroque Opera in the open air

Premiere September 26, 2021 Stadthalle Bremerhaven (DE)


Not the Trojan hero, but Dido and Death engage in battle in this Dido & Aeneas by Purcell. Dido is under pressure. As queen she serves her people, but that same mass also makes her a loner. There is gossip behind her back and she is exposed to venom. Moreover, Dido herself struggles with dark thoughts, which seem to tear her apart. Belinda sees her chance in the arrival of Aeneas and hopes to provide the much-needed distraction. But Death cannot be misled and thus as spectators we witness the fate that irrevocably awaits Dido.

How does fate affacts us? To what extent are we as human beings actually capable of directing our own lives? This question is central to this performance of Purcell's opera, in which youngsters from Bremerhaven also participate. They have created short film scenes that comment on the original opera, like a choir in the tragedy of ancient Greecem and in which they give their musical-theatrical vision of Dido themes such as of jealousy, depression and the power of the masses. Performances that hold up a mirror to Dido as well and do not leave her untouched. Death knew already all along...

El Fugor Josephine Sacabo

Photo © Josephine Sacabo

Credits Cast & Crew

Opera Dido & Aeneas by Henry Purcell retold in 5 video clips:

Concept & Direction © Annechien Koerselman

Camera & Edit © Max Duda

Lightdesign © Max Duda Annechien Koerselman

Producer © Unerhört-Verein für Neue Musik e.V. Bremerhaven (Jens Carstensen) / Iks Medien

Under the guidance of Annechien Koerselman, pupils from the Oberschule Geestemünde Bremerhaven have converted the story, the drama and the underlying emotions into 5 contemporary video clips. These clips were part of an opera, which was performed on September 26 & 27, 2021 on the open-air stage next to Bremerhaven City Hall. Opera music was played live to the videos during the performances. The following recordings can be heard in these clips:

1.  "Echo Dance of the Furies" - Artist Carolyn Watkinson. Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Universal Music),

2. "The Triumphing Dance" -  Artist "Carolyn Watkinson Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Universal Music)

3. "Sailor's Dance" - Artist "Carolyn Watkinson Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Universal Music)

4. "The Witches' Dance"  - Artist William Christie. Licensed to YouTube by WMG (on behalf of Erato Disques)

5. "With drooping wings" - Artist "Carolyn Watkinson Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Universal Music)


Nordsee Zeitung, Sebastian Loskant, September 29, 2021

Exciting stage direction, brilliant music, great videos.
The guy with the skull mask is always there. He sneaks all over the stage in front of the town hall, even lies in wait for the queen at a picnic - the opera "Dido & Aeneas" by Henry Purcell can only end tragically. But when it is staged as original as here by Annechien Koerselman from Amsterdam [...] even death wins sympathy.
In Koerselman's choreography, black-clad, grinning skulls circled around two women or held out menacing hands towards them, at the end the students formed a procession. The story of Aeneas, a war participant and Mediterranean migrant, who finds refuge with the queen in North Africa and leaves his lover disdainfully, thus offered points of contact from women's rights to the refugee debate.
The man with the theorbo, the giant lute, was even allowed to serenade the lovers like a violinist.
The stage direction kept the two dozen choir members in motion, made them look at the screen as a crowd in civilian clothes, then again whirl around demonically in black hooded cloaks.

NZ Openair Dido and Aeneas


Blog Oberschule Geestemünde, Jens Carstensen, September 15, 2021

Blog Geestemünde

Impression of the opera Dido & Aeneas from an audience perspective

Video © OSG (Oberschule Geestemünde) Bremerhaven