8:00PM, Saturday, December 11, 2021
Norton Museum of Art

Norton Museum of Art Sculpture Garden
7:15 pm Cocktail Reception
8:00 pm Performance
Run time is one hour and twenty minutes
9:30 pm Post-Performance Reception

Palm Beach Opera will open the historic 60th Anniversary Season with a celebratory performance of Henry Purcell’s beloved English opera Dido and Aeneas outdoors at the Norton Museum of Art Sculpture Garden, starring our resident artists and members of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra. Conducted by PBO Associate Conductor & Chorus Master Gregory Ritchey and directed by Baroque specialist Drew Minter, the exclusive season-opening event will feature a pre-performance dinner, a special cocktail hour, and a post-performance reception.

Seating is very limited. Please see ticketing options below:

Performance and Three-Course Dinner
This option will include valet parking, a three-course seated meal, a presentation inside the museum, and priority seating at the performance. Following the show, enjoy post-performance cocktails and passed desserts. The price for this ticket is $550 per person. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm.

Performance and Cocktails + Dessert
This option will include valet parking, pre-performance cocktails in the garden, tickets to the performance, and post-performance cocktails and passed desserts. The price for this ticket is $250 per person. Cocktail reception begins at 7:15 pm.

Sung in English with English supertitles projected. Palm Beach Opera will continue to monitor and comply with recommended COVID-19 safety measures in conjunction with the Norton Museum of Art. As of October 1, 2021, all guests visiting the Norton Museum of Art will be required to show one of the following: proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours, a negative COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test conducted within 24 hours, or proof of COVID-19 vaccination (together with a valid photo ID for ages 18+). Masks are required at all times except outdoors or while actively eating or drinking. Visit Norton Museum of Art’s website for more information on safety protocols. 


+Benenson Young Artist
^Apprentice Artist



“Man that is born of a woman”.  In an anthem by Henry Purcell, the company sing of life as fleeting and miserable, presaging the tragic tale of Dido, Queen of Carthage.

The court gathers, gossiping that their Queen, Dido, has refused to accept the hand of a King.  She has vowed that she will always be true to her dead husband Sychaeus.  The courtiers would like her to lighten up and take a lover.  They engage Dido in a game of blind man’s bluff.  Then one of the courtiers tells Dido there is no country swain who would not be more loving if Dido would favor him with her smile (“There’s not a swain on the plain”).  Dido replies that she only disdains love (“I attempt from Love’s sickness to fly”).  The courtiers perform a rustic dance, but Dido does not take part.


Dido’s confidante Belinda, supported by the courtiers, asks Dido to cheer up; her kingdom is prosperous.  But Dido feels only unrest.  Aeneas has recently been received in her court, and Dido secretly feels conflicted over her romantic feelings for him.  Belinda, with Dido’s second lady-in-waiting and the entire court, encourages this romance.  Aeneas appears in full courting mode.  Dido says that fate forbids his advances, but the courtiers insist that once Cupid’s dart is thrown, lovers must give in.  Dido is clearly smitten.  Belinda encourages Aeneas to pursue his conquest of Dido with Love, and the whole company leaves to go to the country so that the hunt for game and for love can continue.


In a nearby cave, a Sorceress, her two intimate witches, and a group of witches and warlocks are in search of evil misdeeds.  “Harm’s our delight”, they sing.  The Sorceress tells how Dido, whom they all hate, is tormented by the loving advances of Aeneas.  She will cast a spell to bring Dido down with this fateful romance.  When the court is out in the mountains, they will conjure a storm.


The courtiers rejoice in the hunt, imagining that Diana the huntress herself might be tempted to hunt in these hills.  Dido’s Second Lady tells the story of Diana and Acteon:  When Diana was bathing, Acteon spied on her, but he was caught in the act, and Diana turned him into a stag who was killed by his own hounds for his misdeed.  Aeneas returns with a boar he has killed, but a storm interrupts the celebrations.  After the court departs, Aeneas is held back by a spirit who tells him that Jove commands him to leave (in the Aeneid, he leaves to become the founder of Italy).  Aeneas sings a song wishing he could convince Dido of his love, ruing his need to leave.


At the harbor, ready to sail away, the sailors sing and dance a lusty song.  The Sorceress and her witches appear, pleased that Dido (Elissa, another name Dido is known by) will soon be ruined by the spell they have cast.  The witches and warlocks chant “Destruction’s our delight.”  Dido appears with the court.  She and Aeneas hash it out, and Aeneas leaves.  Heartbroken, Dido dies, struck down by her grief.


The court mourns a tearful farewell and then sing to God, “Suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.”