Our Culture Editor, Sarah Gharib, previews one of the On The Rocks festival events, Dido and Aeneas, hosted by the Opera Society.

On the 1st of April, showing at both 4pm and 5pm in 601, OpSoc St Andrews will host their Opera Interactive, Dido and Aeneas. OpSoc’s Opera Interactive presents Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas. Perhaps Purcell’s greatest theatrical work, their production will be performed in the Pablo-wielding halls of 601, and reimagined as an interactive, narrated experience. Allow yourself to be walked through a tragedy centuries old by a narrator, watching as Dido and Aeneas fall in love only for fate, and a bit of evil magic, to pull Aeneas away and leave Dido heartbroken and desperate. This is opera as you’ve never seen it before.

What makes this event unique?

OpSoc: This show aims to breakdown the traditional methods of performing opera to make it more accessible for all ears. The short nature of the piece, as well as the promenade method we’ve chosen to present it in will ultimately result in a brief yet intense performance – opera as you’ve never seen it before.

Why did you choose your venue?

OpSoc: We chose the venue of 601 because we wanted to take advantage of the large open space to perform ‘Dido’ in promenade, and make the overall experience a truly immersive one.

What should people be looking out for?

OpSoc: Our show is only 45 minutes, so the experience will be quite intense. The show moves through the extremes of human emotion and romantic love, and brings the audience along for the ride through rich music and haunting visuals. It should be a really rewarding 45 minutes for both cast, crew, and audience members.

What challenges have you faced?

OpSoc: Trying to organise the lay-out of the space so that the singers will have a good view of our musical director while still being able to move freely around the space (and throwing in a mobile audience of 30) has been quite the challenge! But, with the help of an amazing set designer, we have found a solution that hopefully will result in a show that is equally musical and visual.

What three words best sum up your show?

OpSoc: Experimental – Immersive – Passionate.


Sarah Gharib