Mark Morris: Two Operas
An Evening of Britten and Purcell
Curlew River – New York Premiere
By Benjamin Britten
MMDG Music Ensemble
Directed by Mark Morris
Dido and Aeneas
By Henry Purcell
Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble
Choreography by Mark Morris
Conducted by Mark Morris
"The coupling of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Benjamin Britten’s “Curlew River” — English music dramas composed almost three centuries apart — makes a superlative double bill." The New York Times
This career-spanning double bill perfectly embodies Mark Morris' unwavering commitment to music and his trademark blend of emotion,rhythm, and movement. First, clad in all white, the vocalists and orchestra of the MMDG Music Ensemble unite onstage to tell Benjamin Britten's haunting parable of maternal grief in the oft-overlooked music-drama Curlew River. The original Madwoman, tenor Isaiah Bell, described by The New York Times as "ideally depicting emotional distraction with ultimate economy and glowing vocal skill," returns to the central role.
Then, sweeping across the stage in jet-black sarongs, the members of Mark Morris Dance Group revive their seminal 1989 interpretation of Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell's baroque tragedy of ill-fated love, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe performing the roles of Dido and the Sorceress, and Mark Morris on the podium.
"To hear Ms. Blythe sing Dido and The Sorceress is to hear the roles anew. That astonishing voice—dark, vehement, burning—pours out with extraordinary ease throughout her range." – The New York Times