'“Remember me,” he sings. And we will': Matthew Brook impresses audiences in Wallen's Dido's Ghost

8 June 2021

In Errollyn Wallen's new opera Dido's Ghost, interweaving a full performance of Purcell’s original tragedy with her work and set several years after Dido's death, Matthew Brook shines in the role of Aeneas.

Performed with the Dunedin Consort at the Barbican, in partnership with Mahogany Opera, Matthew has received exceptional praise:

“Dido's Ghost will certainly be welcomed by all singers who have craved the limelight denied to them in the under-characterised original role of Aeneas. Written here for the compelling bass-baritone Matthew Brook, the part is fleshed out to the extent that he even gets the celebrated Lament.”

John Allison, The Telegraph

“Aeneas himself, Dido-obsessed, clearly needs a psychiatrist, but at least the character finds some succour singing Purcell’s heart-aching setting of Dido’s lament, “When I am laid in earth”. As movingly rendered by Matthew Brook, this was the evening’s peak: the one point where the audience’s emotional involvement could be guaranteed.”

Geoff Brown, The Times

“…the emotional shell of Aeneas, superbly portrayed and sung by the bass baritone Matthew Brook.”

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian****

“But it’s Matthew Brook’s Aeneas who carries the piece. The feckless charmer of Purcell’s origin here becomes wiser and sadder – finally a man worthy of the Lament, which he delivers with heart-stopping vulnerability and tenderness. “Remember me,” he sings. And we will.”

Alexandra Coghlan, iNews

“…the focus was on Matthew Brook’s Aeneas, his firm baritone successfully setting the path for Rome’s foundation but now completely haunted by regret of a lost love and the shame of his behaviour… Phrases from Dido’s Lament were scattered, but in the end it was Aeneas who got the aria, sung movingly as a broken man, a touch of falsetto here and there, Dido’s ghost and Anna both gone… While it was intriguing to see a Baroque band embracing modern styles, it was the intense commitment of the singers which made this dramatic work so compelling.”

David Smythe, Bachtrack****

“…there are memorable performances from the strong central cast, with standouts from … Matthew Brook’s conflicted Aeneas”

George Hall, The Stage

Further performances will take place at the Buxton International Festival in July, and the Edinburgh International Festival in August.

Photo credit: Mark Allan | Barbican

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