Dido, Queen of Carthage

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Dido, Queen of Carthage is a work of astonishing invention, and perhaps the first masterpiece of the English stage. Marlowe’s play tells of the tragic infatuation of Queen Dido for Aeneas, heroic survivor of the Trojan War and future founder of Rome. As the heartless gods of Mount Olympus look on unmoved, Cupid wreaks havoc in the hearts and minds of his all-too-human victims.

Marlowe wrote Dido, Queen of Carthage in 1585, at the beginning of his meteoric rise through the underworld of Elizabethan London. Writing with all the fierce recklessness of a twenty-one year old, Marlowe proposes a theater whose only rule is beauty, a world whose only law is desire.

Directed by the former Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith in London, Neil Bartlett, and designed by his close collaborator Rae Smith, Dido, Queen of Carthage features live baroque music.

“Make me immortal with a kiss!”—Dido


The ten years of the bloody, anguished Trojan War are over. Troy’s King, Priam, has been butchered. Aeneas, having escaped the devastation with his son Ascanius, is wandering on the seas—to escape his memories of death, and to find a new home. He dreams of a country called Italy, where he can build a new city, one that will somehow replace the lost dream of Troy. He is shipwrecked in a storm.

This shipwreck is no accident. Juno, sister of Jupiter, King of the Gods, hated Troy and hates the surviving Trojans, having been deeply insulted when Paris, the Prince of Troy, failed to choose her as the most beautiful of the goddesses in the famous contest involving a mythical golden apple as prize. Paris gave the prize to Venus, mother of Aeneas.

Juno’s temper has not been improved by the fact that Jupiter has just got himself a new boyfriend; he has replaced her daughter, Hebe, in the intimate role of cupbearer with a handsome shepherd-boy, Ganymede—a Trojan. It is Juno who has summoned the winds and wrecked the Trojan ships. Venus fears for the life of her son.

Meanwhile, far from the smoking ruins of Troy, there is another city, this one ruled by a woman. In North Africa, Dido reigns over Carthage, a powerful and peaceful place that she has established as a haven of civilization in a barbaric landscape. After the death of her first husband, Sichaeus, she has refused all pressure to remarry, and governs alone.

The beach on which Aeneas has been shipwrecked is . . . near Carthage.

A world whose only rule is beauty, whose only law is desire

restaurant partner: The Red House


The Carthage Consort of Viols
treble, music director Laura Jeppesen
treble and tenor Jane Hershey
bass Emily Walhout
treble (alternative) Carol Lewis
Cupid, son of Venus John Kelly
Jupiter Will LeBow
Ganymede, a Trojan shepherd boy Clark Huggins
Venus, Aeneas’s mother Saundra McClain
Aeneas Colin Lane
Ascanius, his son Ezra Lichtman
Achaetes Brent Harris
Ilioneus Peter Cambor
Cloanthus Peter Richards
Sergestus Jorge Rubio
Iarbas, King of Gaetulia Gregory Simmons
Dido, Queen of Carthage Diane D’Aquila
Anna, her sister Karen MacDonald
Juno, wife of Jupiter Thomas Derrah
Hermes Sam Chase
Nurse Remo Airaldi
lighting design Scott Zielinski
music composed and arranged by Laura Jeppesen after works by William Lawes, Matthew Locke,
and Thomas Weelkes
sound design David Remedios
production stage manager Chris De Camillis
dramaturg Emily Otto
voice and speech coach Nancy Houfek
New York casting Vince Liebhart
Carthaginian Courtiers/Trojan Soldiers Mark Killian, Jonah Mitropoulos, Gregory Moss,
Alejandro Simoes, Aaron Santos