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Whence could so much virtue spring

Opera details:

Opera title:

Dido and Aeneas


Henry Purcell




Dido and Aeneas Synopsis


Dido and Aeneas Libretto



Duet details:




Dido / Belinda


Mezzo-Soprano or Soprano / Soprano



Previous scene: When monarchs unite
Next scene: Fear no danger to ensue

H. Purcell - Dido and Aeneas (Z. 626)

Singer(s): Véronique Gens Gaëlle Méchaly Sophie Daneman

DIDO AND AENEAS (Z. 626), an opera in prologue and 3 acts, by Henry Purcell.
Performed at Josias Priest's girls' school in London no later than the summer of 1688.
1st publication was in 1689.
Libretto by Nahum Tate.

I. Overture - 0:17

IIa. Aria: Shake the cloud from off your brow
IIb. Chorus: Banish sorrow, banish care
III. Aria and Ritornello: Ah! Belinda, I am prest with torment
IV. Duet (dialogue): Grief increases by concealing
V. Chorus: When monarchs unite
VI. Trio (dialogue): Whence could so much virtue spring?
VII. Duet and Chorus: Fear no danger
VIII .Trio (dialogue): See, your royal guest appears
IX. Chorus (dialogue): Cupid only throws the dart
X. Aria: If not for mine
XI. Prelude and Aria: Pursue thy conquest, love
XII. Chorus: To the hills and the vales
XIII. The triumphing dance

XIV. Prelude and Aria: Wayward sisters
XV. Chorus: Harm's our delight
XVI. Aria: The queen of Carthage, whom we hate
XVII -- XX. Chorus and Dialogue: Ho ho ho!
XXI. Chorus: In our deep vaulted cell
XXII. Echo dance of the furies
XXIII. Ritornello
XXIVa-b. Aria and Chorus: Thanks to these lonesome vales
XXIVc. Gittar ground
XXVa. Aria: Oft she visits this lone mountain
XXVb. Ritornello: A Dance to entertain Aeneas by Dido's Women
XXVI. Aria: Behold, upon my bended spear
XXVII. Aria and Chorus: Haste, haste to town
XXVIII. Duet (dialogue): Stay, Prince

XXIX. Prelude and Aria: Come away, fellow sailors
XXX. The sailor's dance
XXXI. Trio (dialogue): See the flags and the streamers curling
XXXII. Aria: Our next motion
XXXIII. Chorus: Destruction's our delight
XXXIV. The witches' dance
XXXVa. Aria: Your counsel all is urg'd in vain
XXXVb. Trio (dialogue): See, madam where the Prince appears
XXXVI. Chorus: Great minds against themselves conspire
XXXVII. Aria: Thy hand Belinda, darkness shades me
XXXVIII. Ground, Aria and Ritornello: When I am laid in earth
XXXIX. Chorus: With drooping wings
XL. Epilogue: All that we know the angels do above

Performed by Les Arts Florissants
dir. William Christie

Veronique Gens (soprano) as Dido
Nathan Berg (bass-baritone) as Aeneas
Sophie Marin-Degor (soprano) as Belinda
Claire Brua (mezzo-soprano) as Sorceress
Sophie Daneman, Gaelle Mechaly (sopranos) as witches I/II
Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor) as Spirit/Sailor

*** *** ***
Picture: Diana and Callisto (1639), by Peter Paul Rubens.

Watch videos with other singers performing Whence could so much virtue spring:


Whence could so much virtue spring?
What storms, what battles did he sing?
Anchises' valour mix'd with Venus' charms
How soft in peace, and yet how fierce in arms!

A tale so strong and full of woe
Might melt the rocks as well as you.

What stubborn heart unmov'd could see
Such distress, such piety?

Mine with storms of care oppress'd
Is taught to pity the distress'd.
Mean wretches' grief can touch,
So soft, so sensible my breast;
But ah! I fear, I pity his too much.

repeated by Chorus
Fear no danger to ensue,
The Hero loves as well as you,
Ever gentle, ever smiling,
And the cares of life beguiling,
Cupid strew your path with flowers
Gather'd from Elysian bowers.

English Libretto or Translation:

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Full English translation Dido and Aeneas

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