Pamela Helen Stephen and Phillip Rhodes an “ideal match” as Dido and Aeneas
Mezzo-soprano Pamela Helen Stephen has received high praise for her “impassioned” (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph) performance of the title role of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in a new production by Opera North. Pamela’s portrayal of the Queen of Carthage has been described as a “painfully truthful” (Andrew Clark, Financial Times) and “touching Dido” (Martin Dreyer, The York Press), as well as being “nobly” (Richard Morrison, The Times) and “sumptuously sung” (Alfred Hickling, The Guardian) and a “heartbreaking Dido, utterly devoid of tragedy-queen histrionics” (Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times). Writing in Opera Britannia, George Mogridge expanded by saying “Dido brings to the fore the singer’s vocal strengths. There was a rich, creamy quality to her singing, the phrasing was supple and she imbued the English text with meaning. Dido’s Act l aria “Ah, Belinda I am pressed with torment” was overlaid with grief and sorrow. “When I am laid in earth” was delivered with a sense of quiet dignity and resignation that I found very moving”. Reviewing for bachtrack.com, Richard Wilcocks also commented on the famous Lament, describing Pamela’s rendition as “properly moving”.
Singing alongside Pamela is Rayfield Allied baritone Phillip Rhodes who portrays a “firm” Aeneas (The York Press) and “brings a powerful presence… coming into his own with “Yours be the blame, ye gods!”” (bachtrack.com). Writing in Opera Britannia Mogridge also commented “his dark coloured voice possesses an attractive rugged quality - an ideal match for Helen Stephen’s Dido. A pity that Purcell does not give Aeneas more to do”.
Performances of Opera North’s new production of Dido and Aeneas run until 22nd March and the production goes on tour from 26th February. For more information please click here.