News: Full casting announced for the Unicorn and ENO’s new production of Dido

In a first ever collaboration, English National Opera and the Unicorn join forces in presenting Dido, a contemporary staging of Purcell’s powerful and emotionally charged masterpiece, Dido and Aeneas, for young audiences.

Belinda is the only child of Dido. A teenager like any other, in any big city. We watch through her eyes as her mother – heroine, feminist icon, modern parent – slowly starts to fall apart, with tragic consequences.

The Unicorn’s former Artistic Director Purni Morell directs a company of twenty-two that includes three principal singers: Rachael Lloyd as Dido, Njabulo Madlala as Aeneas and Eyra Norman as Belinda. They will be performing with a chorus of twelve and seven musicians from the ENO orchestra, in this searing new production for teenagers and adults, conducted by Valentina Peleggi – the ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow.

Originally composed for a girls’ boarding school in 1689, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas is one of the most admired operas in the English canon – a timeless and tragic story of love, suffering and isolation set to some of the most sublime and exquisite music ever written. This production, faithful to the Baroque score, refocuses the piece so that it is seen through Belinda’s eyes and the epic story is brought into contemporary relief in all its visceral truth. For some this will be a chance to see a familiar and much-loved opera in a new light, while for many in its young audience it will be an incredible first experience of a classic.

Dido is designed by Khadija Raza, a finalist of the Linbury Prize 2017.

Dido runs at the Unicorn Theatre from 11 May – 2 June. For more information visit

Age guide: 11 – adult / Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins

Sung in English

PLEASE NOTE:  In this production for young audiences at the Unicorn Theatre, Dido’s suicide will be presented onstage. Decisions and details about this staging will be made available to bookers who wish to know more.

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