The Sixteen choir & orchestra return to Grange Festival with a scintillating opera double-bill.

We are delighted to return to the Grange Festival with an operatic
double-bill. Both timeless love stories, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice follows
Orfeo is on a mission through the underworld of Hades to rescue his love
Euridice. Dido, one of the most revered women in the ancient world falls
for Trojan hero Aeneas, a relationship that ultimately ends in tragedy.
Paired as mirror images of each other, both operas end with two of the
most adored arias ever written.

First performed in 1762 in Vienna Orfeo ed Euridice was written as a reaction against the vocal excesses and dramatic confusions which then typified Italian opera. It is simple, direct and intensely moving. The demi-God Orpheus enchants all nature with his music and poetry. His wedding with Euridice (a version of Persephone) is tragically interrupted when a snake bites and kills her. He pursues her into the underworld using all his charm and craft and tries to bring her back but with Cupid’s warning that even a single direct look into her eyes will end her life eternally. She understandably resists his increasingly fervent attempts to lead her back to life without her once seeing his face and in desperation he gives in.

Dido is one of the most revered women in the ancient world: the clever and enterprising founder of the prosperous city state of Carthage. Aeneas is on his long journey back from Troy and calls on her. They fall for each other, but his abrupt departure after a brief sojurn of passion drives her to despair and suicide. Henry Purcell famously wrote Dido and Aeneas for a girls school in Chelsea. It is the first English opera, and one of the greatest of all.


  • Gluck

    Orfeo ed Euridice

  • Purcell

    Dido & Aeneas


  • The Sixteen choir & orchestra
  • Harry Christophers conductor
  • Daniel Slater director
  • Robert Innes-Hopkins designer
  • Johanna Town lighting designer
  • Tim Claydon associate director & choreographer
  • Heather Lowe Orfeo / Dido
  • James Newby Aeneas
  • Alexandra Oomens Euridice / Belinda
  • Helen Charlston Sorceress / Spirit
  • Caroline Blair Amore / 2nd Woman

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