Mark Morris, Choreographing AND Conducting Japanese Street Dances & Baroque Tragedy

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Guillermo Resto and Mark Morris (featured) in Dido and Aeneas, Mark Morris Dance Group, 1990. Photo: Tom Brazil.

The opera Dido And Aeneas is a late 17th century masterpiece by Henry Purcell. Back in 1989, the American choreographer Mark Morris unveiled a version of this opera with dance. In fact, Morris himself danced the roles of both Dido, the queen of Carthage, and the sorceress, who is plotting Dido’s destruction. It’s not unusual for a choreographer to be a huge music fan, but it is unusual to see one in the role of conductor. Mark Morris will be leading both his Dance Group and his music ensemble in a series of performances of a double bill of English music dramas: Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River at BAM later this week, and today he joins us here in the studio.  

Here is a video of the members of Mark Morris Dance Group in a revival of their seminal 1989 interpretation of Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell’s Baroque tragedy of ill-fated love: