John Blow’s Venus & Adonis is often considered the first opera in English. Combining elements of Ovid, Shakespeare and the influences of 17th-century French opera, it creates a powerful dramatic retelling of a tale that charts the extreme states of love and grief when beautiful Adonis is gored to death by a boar.
The programme also includes except’s from Purcell’s semi-opera The Fairy Queen, itself an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that conjures a world of gods and goddesses, nymphs and sprites, fairies and shepherds, dancing swans and figures of dream.
Purcell The Fairy Queen (selection)
Blow Venus and Adonis