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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dido and Aeneas are buzzing haste, haste to town

Two historic characters who originated in Virgil's 1st century B.C. epic poem "The Aeneid," namely Dido and Aeneas, buzz into town for one performance only of Baroque Operatic Mastery on October 22.

To whom do we owe the pleasure of the forthcoming spectacle? Read on.

Virgil of course would be the first to be credited; however you may just as well thank Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. He purportedly saved Virgil's poem from the embers and ash as Virgil had requested it become in his will.

Henry Purcell, the 17th century musical genius, deserves some thanks as well. Over 300 years ago, wigged out without much ado, except to create masterful works of pure art and entertainment, he went for the baroque. Nahum Tate,

don't forget to thank him. He is the Librettist, (the author of the lyric). Recognized in his day as Poet Laureate, he sliced and diced and made nice Virgil's dactylic hexameter into timeless lyric creating a moralistic fable to teach the young ladies of Josias Priest's private boarding school lessons on the dangers of the ardent advances and persistent wooing from the young men of the era. Some scholars argue its creation was intended as a political allegory pertaining to the Dutch King William and English Queen Mary. For certain, there is a great deal of scholarly debate.

Eighth century B.C. Homer should be thanked as well. What fun to trundle into ancient history, yes Homer's "Odyssey" and "Iliad" were models for "The Aeneid." Flash forward to present day and let us thank the wonderful singers of the Parry Sound School of Music Choir, the young protégées of the Julie Lea school of dance, Katerina Fretwell for a visual display of paintings, Wave Weir dance soloist, the quintet Georgian Strings and percussionist Graham Ketcheson.

Is there more?

Well yes, indeed there is, but first, how can two characters, namely Dido and Aeneas, created two thousand years ago still stir so much interest, passion, and inspiration and prove so popular today?

Art is the answer. Art with its mesmerizing appeal can transport you to the realms of mystery, madness, and beauty.

Art is indeed the answer and one of the most stirring artists to reach the shores of Georgian Bay is a most generous and joyful maestro. An educator, a Master of Arts, a proud new Citizen of Canada, the Grand Dame of the Parry Sound School of Music — here's too our very own Maia Vimboule.

Maia has invested the last three years of her life unleashing the passion and joy of her Parry Sound School of Music students into the community through vibrant productions of classic works by masters such as Haydn, Mozart, Handel, and Purcell. She is a one-woman high-energy force with her operatic vocal ability, piano artistry and wide-ranging knowledge and appreciation for the arts. She teaches and conducts, and lifts up the spirits of all who have the pleasure to meet her and share a moment, a performance, or a lesson.

Maia brings with her an array of artistic contacts from within the Parry Sound Muskoka area and outside the community who are only too happy to participate in her performances.

Her students sing masterfully, as proven by their awards and accolades. As usual in Maia's productions, in the title roles she has Canadian vocal luminaries. Playing the role of Aeneas is Tenor Sylvain Landry with Mezzo Soprano Jennifer Ens Modolo in the role of Dido. Soprano Caroline Dery and Soprano Carol Hawken round out the title roles.

When it comes to preparing your children for the journey ahead of them and soothing yourself in the face of life's uncertainties, nothing can calm your nerves more than the joy of a fine artistic performance and the enlightenment it brings. Art is the answer.

To this end, I suggest that one and all go haste haste, to the production of Dido and Aeneas at the Charles W. Stockey Center for the Performing Arts, October 22, at 2 p.m.

By Terry Welling
Original Article


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