Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

Purcell performances in the University and the city

Published: 20 June 2011
Dido and Aeneas, Death scene

Southampton students ended the year in Baroque style with two staged performances of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.

Singers worked on solo parts and choruses through the semester with the help of Keith Davis (Head of Vocal Studies) and singer-director Ian Caddy, who coached them on staging and Baroque gesture. Costumes chosen and sourced by London stage designer Fly Davis added to the Restoration ethos.

A strong cast included students from all three years: first-years Rebecca Smith (Belinda) and Fred Platt (Sorceress - Bruce Wood's new edition opening up the field for an intimidating male, rather than a soprano casting), second-year Jenna Elliott as Second Woman and an array of impressive witches and Spirit from second-years Hannah Mansell, Lauren Else and Kayleigh Conway-Jarrett, and a heartfelt third-year Dido in Kate Rotheroe. Harry Bennett was a heroic if slippery Aeneas, and Luke Barratt led a group of confidently dancing tenors and basses as the Sailor.

Liz Kenny (Head of Early Music) put together a band of staff and students (Head of Strings Paul Cox among them), led from the violin by baroque specialist Caroline Balding. Instruments ranged from strings, oboes and bassoon to harpsichord, spinet, guitar and theorbo. The audience for the first performance at the Turner Sims on 17 June included specially-invited sixth-formers from Southampton and Winchester. The sold-out performance on 18 June was a joint promotion with FOSMAG (Friends of Southampton's Museums, Archves and Galleries) in Southampton City Art Gallery.

Privacy Settings