The Manoel Theatre is next week presenting the opera Dido and Aeneas, written by English baroque composer Henry Purcell, with a libretto by Nahum Tate.

The plot sees Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, entertaining the Trojan prince Aeneas, who was shipwrecked on his way to Italy. Witches plot Dido’s destruction and a sorceress conjures a storm to break out when the royal couple are hunting, and the impersonation of Mercury by one of her coven. The storm duly breaks and the courtiers hasten back to town, while the false Mercury tells Aeneas he must leave Dido and sail for Italy.

Aeneas and his sailors prepare to leave, to the delight of the witches. So he parts from Dido, who kills herself once he has gone.

Performers will be accompanied by the Valletta Baroque Ensemble and a 12-strong chorus

Francesca Buhagiar landed the role of Dido while Cliff Zammit Stevens is playing Aeneas. Cathy Lawlor will play the sorceress while Francesca Aquilina, Analise Mifsud and Alison Gatt will interpret the witches. The cast also includes Nadia Vella as Belinda and Tom Armitage as the sailor.

The performers will be accompanied by the Valletta Baroque Ensemble, under the baton of Marco Menconboni, and a 12-strong chorus.

The opera is directed by Denise Mulholland, with costume design by Luke Azzopardi and set design by Andrew Borg Wirth.

Dido and Aeneas is being staged on February 23, 24, 26 and 27 at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta at 8pm. It is suitable for audiences aged 12 and over. For tickets and guidelines to attend the opera, visit One can also book on 2124 6389 or by sending an e-mail to

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