Aeneas i Cartago [ Aeneas i Cartago, eller Dido och Aeneas (‘Aeneas in Carthage, or Dido and Aeneas’)]
- Bertil H. van Boer
Lyric tragedy in a prologue and five acts by Joseph Martin Kraus to a libretto by Johan Henrik Kellgren after an outline by Gustavus based on Jean-Jacques Le Franc de Pompignan’s play Didon; Stockholm, Royal Opera, 18 November 1799.
The opera begins with a prologue depicting winds chained to a rock in the sea. Eol [Aeolus] (bass) refuses to release them until asked by Juno (soprano) to allow them to sink the escaping Trojan fleet. After a storm, Neptun [Neptune] (bass) calms the waves and Aeneas (tenor) is cast ashore on the coast of Carthage. His mother Venus (soprano) directs him to seek aid from Queen Dido (soprano). In Act 1, she welcomes the strangers and asks that they help dedicate a new temple in homage to Juno, who refuses to accept it. In Act 2 a hunt is interrupted by a storm that drives Dido and Aeneas to a cave for shelter; they pledge their love, only to be interrupted by the ghost of Dido’s first husband, Siché [Sychaeus] (bass), who warns of their impending doom. In Act 3, the Numidian King Jarbas (tenor or baritone) arrives disguised as his own ambassador to ask for Dido’s hand; he is rejected and vows revenge. Aeneas and Dido then appear before the temple of Juno to be married, but an earthquake occurs, followed by the appearance of Ära (soprano), who orders Aeneas to leave Carthage. As the Trojans prepare to set sail, Dido unsuccessfully asks Aeneas to stay. Her servant Clelié [Cloelia] (soprano) then arrives with news of the approaching Numidian army. In Act 5 a battle takes place in which Aeneas slays Jarbas and defeats the Numidians before leaving Carthage. Dido, at first encouraged by his victory, sees his ships departing and immolates herself. The goddess Iris (soprano) arrives and tells the Carthaginians that Dido has been apotheosized. Finally Jupiter (baritone) receives Dido in Olympus....