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The University of Southampton
Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Critical Acclaim for New Purcell Disc

Published: 22 January 2009

A new recording of Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas co-directed by Southampton's Head of Early Music, Elizabeth Kenny, has been chosen as Classic FM's CD of the Month and a Gramophone Editor's Choice for February 2009.   The performance draws on Kenny's research into professionial theatrical practice to provide a compelling fresh reading of this famous work.  Released on the Chandos label (Chandos Chaconne CHAN0757), the recording features the Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and soprano Sarah Connolly as Dido. Classic FM called the disk "a Dido of unremitting delight" and remarked "Elizabeth Kenny, the lutenist who co-directs this performance, points to recent scholarship suggesting the piece may have  been designed for professional performance.... Included are extra dances and ritornellos driven by Kenny's lutes and guitars....They're beautifully handled and reinforce the idea of Dido as a "masque" - an entertainment centred on the physicality of dance."

Gramophone's Editor's Choice citation calls the work of Kenny and her co-director Stephen Devine, "outstandly deft" and remarks that Kenny's performance research brings "additional scope to the drama as well as speculative musicological interest." 

According to another review in the Observer, "There could be no better start to the Baroque year of 2009 . . .  than this superb version of Purcell's unmatched one-hour opera."

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