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Great minds against themselves

Opera details:

Opera title:

Dido and Aeneas


Henry Purcell




Dido and Aeneas Synopsis


Dido and Aeneas Libretto



Choir details:




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Previous scene: But death alas I cannot shun
Next scene: Thy hand Belinda when I am laid

A complete version of Henry Purcell's "Dido & Aeneas" (No. 6. Dido's Death) (Catherine Bott, Emma Kirkby, John Mark Ainsley, Julianne Baird, David Thomas, Sara Stowe, Daniel Lochmann, Michael Chance)

Singer(s): John Mark Ainsley Julianne Baird Michael Chance Catherine Bott Emma Kirkby

I've divided the work itself into several sections, each centered around a key situation of the work. Thus, the present section could be called "Dido's Death".

First, let us note the cast:

Dido - Catherine Bott,
Belinda - Emma Kirkby,
Aeneas - John Mark Ainsley,
Second woman - Julianne Baird,
Sorceress - David Thomas,
Witches - Elizabeth Friday & Sara Stowe,
First sailor - Daniel Lochmann,
Spirit - Michael Chance.

1. No. 16. "Great minds against themselves conspire", a short but meltingly beautiful chorus with a stunning sustained string line mourning the dying Queen.

2. "Thy hand, Belinda", as Dido says her farewell to Belinda and life itself.

3. No. 17. "When I am laid in Earth", Dido's lament of Monteverdian greatness featuring a simple bass line and mournful vocal lines. The recitative text consists of Dido singing to Belinda, indicating that death is approaching. As the recitative progresses, it dramatizes the slow death in store for Dido by gradually shifting, step by step, through the interval of a seventh. It concludes, ominously, with the words "Death is now a welcome guest." In the aria that follows, Dido expresses to Belinda the hope that after her death, Dido's wrongs will cause Belinda "no trouble in thy breast". The ground bass pattern is comprised of largely of descending fourths, and is an irregular length: five bars. Purcell combines this mournful descending bass pattern with many dissonant suspensions, repeating dissonance on strong beats to emphasize Dido's lament. The opera's crown-jewel, as it were.

4. No. 18. "With dropping wings, ye Cupids, come", the concluding section sustaining the atmosphere of the previous piece superbly, while providing a quiet ending to the opera.

Hope you enjoyed the piece :)!

Watch videos with other singers performing Great minds against themselves:


Great minds against themselves conspire
And shun the cure they most desire.

English Libretto or Translation:

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Full English translation Dido and Aeneas

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