Dido And Aeneas

Reviewer's Rating

There were two prominent precedents set in this production. Firstly, the Rishon le’Zion Symphonic Orchestra, a regular in the pit of the Israeli Opera House, was replaced by the Barocada Ensemble which specializes in early music, and plays period instruments, normally without a conductor. The second was an absolutely all-Israeli cast with no guest stars. Apparently, two very risky decisions but the outcome speaks volumes of success. The House can take credit for another achievement – most of the Israelis on the cast are graduates of Meitar, their own academy.

The scene was dominated by the sea, brilliantly designed and surrealistic, with two dancers and a group of acrobats who take part in the plot. Another unusual element was that the chorus was positioned in the pit, behind the ensemble.

In the cast, the most convincing performances were given by Anat Czarny as Dido, including a very moving performance of the well-known aria “When I’m laid in earth”, and by Guy Mannheim, who portrayed a funny and dominant Sorcerer wearing an absolute adequate costume. Daniela Skorka, who in a previous week replaced Chen Reiss in a series of demanding concerts with another Israeli orchestra, appeared nevertheless as a fresh and mature Belinda, and so was Oded Reich in the role of Aeneas. Yaniv D’or (Spirit) had a fantastic, though short, entry from the balcony, reminding us again of his great talent.
Purcell took care of writing heavenly music and conductor Ethan Schmeisser did as well in delivering it. All in all: a short, exciting, innovative production to be remembered for a long time.