Purcell: Dido & Aeneas / Bates, La Nouva Musica

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La Nuova Musica and its artistic director David Bates present Henry Purcell’s most widely admired work, Dido and Aeneas. With Nathum Tate’s libretto based on Virgil’s Aeneid Book IV, Dido and Aeneas is a miniature opera, as well as the only all-sung opera Purcell ever composed. Constantly juxtaposing different moods, colors, and orchestrations, this semi-opera enjoys popularity for its “tunefulness, evocative power, and […] conciseness”. The guiding star that David Bates wants to follow for this recording: making sure that Purcell’s Italian, French, and English musical influences are all emphasized – by adding a typically Italian harp to the continuo and by doubling the strings just as in the French tradition, for instance.

Dido and Aeneas includes one of the most touching operatic laments, “When I am laid in earth”. A cast of first-class singers with strong musical personalities offer an eclectic interpretation together with a chorus that creates a visceral and intrinsically dramatic soundworld. Dido and Aeneas is David Bates and La Nuova Musica’s fourth release; here, star tenor Nicky Spence, Fleur Barron, Matthew Brook, and Giulia Semenzato all make their Pentatone debuts.


The suspense, vibrancy and richly layered musical textures of chorus and band have no equal in the discography. The Witches’ scene is an exuberant Gothic festival, with creepily dilating long notes and weird sound effects – thumps, jangles, wind machine noises – tucked deftly into the score.

-- BBC Music Magazine

Product Description:

  • Release Date: September 22, 2023

  • Catalog Number: PTC5187032

  • UPC: 8717306260329

  • Label: PENTATONE

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Baroque

  • Composer: Henry Purcell

  • Conductor: David Bates

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: La Nuova Musica

  • Performer: Fleur Barron, Matthew Brook, Giulia Semenzato, Tim Mead, Nicky Spence, David Bates


  1. Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626

    Composer: Henry Purcell

    Ensemble: La Nuova Musica

    Performer: Giulia Semenzato (Soprano), Tim Mead (Countertenor), Fleur Barron (Mezzo-soprano), Matthew Brook (Bass-baritone), Nicky Spence (Tenor)

    Conductor: David Bates