Dramatis Personae He She Love has a thousand
ways to please, but more to rob us of our ease...
In seventeenth century England, opera of the modern type - continuously sung musical
drama - was a rare commodity. Dido and Aeneas is the only one of Henry Purcell's
50-odd theatre works of this type, the rest of them were written as additions to
spoken plays. However, Purcell and his contemporaries wrote many miniature musical
dramas in the form of dialogues, which usually feature two characters, a man and
a woman, exploring some aspect of the universal drama of love. These dialogues, and
the many solo songs that represent in a dramatic form the viewpoint of a single lover,
are usually performed today only in concerts, but they benefit from being dramatised.
programme based on songs, dialogues and instrumental pieces by Purcell and his contemporaries
explores the drama of love from infatuation to cynical old age. The main idea is
to bring out the dramatic qualities of the individual pieces, and to fit them into
a simple narrative so that they answer and comment on each other in a meaningful,
Some of the dialogues and most of the songs in the programme are
based on poems of the time, so the evening celebrates the beauty of 17th century
poetry as well as its music.
Directed by Jack Edwards Musical Director: Peter Holman Design: Robin Linklater photographs:
Music by: Lorenzo Bocchi, Jeremiah Clarke, Giovanni Battista Draghi, John Eccles,
Gottfried Finger, Francis Forcer, Robert King, Pelham Humfrey, Henry Purcell and