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Opera North - Masque of Might


Henry Purcell is arguably England’s finest composer of music for the stage before Benjamin Britten, yet he wrote only one opera, Dido and Aeneas. Immortal masterpiece though that undoubtedly is, much of Purcell’s greatest dramatic music is to be found in the ‘semi-operas’, masques and other entertainments that were popular in his time, such as The Fairy Queen.

Taking inspiration from the masque – the 17th Century equivalent of a variety show in its mix of song, dance and spectacle – Sir David Pountney has skilfully assembled a thoroughly modern entertainment that showcases some of Purcell’s best music written for – but now rarely heard in – the theatre. Drawing largely on the original texts set to music by Purcell, this witty, incisive and fantastical work addresses urgently topical themes – the abuses of a powerful political leader and the gathering climate crisis.

Music by Henry Purcell
Libretto assembled and adapted by Sir David Pountney

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