Northwestern College music department to present operatic performance

Northwestern College’s 24-member Heritage Singers chamber choir will perform “Dido and Aeneas,” an opera by English baroque composer Henry Purcell, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27–28, at 7:30 p.m. in the England Proscenium Theatre of the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center.

This hourlong drama includes several aspects that make a great story: shipwreck, love, doubt, deception, goodwill, death, sorrow. According to a synopsis from OPERA America, “The story is based on Book IV of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid.’ It recounts the love of Dido, queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. A monumental work in baroque opera, ‘Dido and Aeneas’ is remembered as one of Purcell’s foremost theatrical works. It was also Purcell’s only true opera, as well as his only all-sung dramatic work.”

The show will be directed from the keyboard by NWC music department accompanist Janelle Phinney. Musical direction/coaching will be provided by Dr. Thomas Holm, with assistance from Michael Pekel. The director is Grace Spencer.

“Audiences will find the story compelling and the staging clever and entertaining,” says Holm, professor of music at Northwestern. “And they will be particularly moved by some beautiful singing as the story drives into its dark conclusion.”

Admission is free, but tickets are required and should be reserved at They will be available starting Jan. 13. For more information, contact Blair Lansink in the music department office, 712-707-7062.