We've moved!

This donation page is on the old Big Give website. Please go to theBigGive.org.uk to find current campaigns and opportunities to double your donation.

If you have any queries on the changes, please email us at info@thebiggive.org.uk.

Project information

Dido & Aeneas: the untold story

Purcell's masterpiece joins the hero Aeneas at the end of his voyage, shipwrecked in Carthage. But what of his exodus from Troy, search for refuge, or destiny to found Rome? We seek to commission a new work to compliment Purcell’s original, charting Aeneas’ journey, from the best female UK talents.

June 2019 - September 2019

Charity information: The English Concert

The English Concert logo
  • Need


    The strong tradition of touring opera and new commissions in the UK is under threat. Due to insufficient funding, mounting performances is costly and the chance for collaboration with other art forms is rare. Instead, the orchestra is forced to consider small programmes only. This project seeks to promote some of the finest female dramatists in the UK, redressing the gender balance, and to shed more light onto the hero from an undisputed baroque masterpiece and first English opera


    This commission will offer modern audiences an opportunity to understand Purcell's masterpiece by exploring the background of the characters as in Virgil's epic the Aeneid; a work well-known to contemporary audiences. By bringing this production to London and the rest of the UK we will not only resist the decline of touring opera, but demonstrate its relevance to modern-day audiences. We also seek to promote the best female talents and to offer a new work into the repertoire.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Commission and present an outstanding performance of 'Dido & Aeneas: the untold story'


    » Bring a successful staging of 'Dido & Aeneas: the untold story' to audiences in London and the rest of the UK

    What success will look like

    We will demonstrate success by creating a new companion piece to Purcell's opera, by monitoring attendence, and by seeking feedback from audiences, press and artists

    Aim 2

    Showcase one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, soloists, directors and dramatists


    » see Aim 1

    What success will look like

    We will demonstrate success by monitoring audience attendance and feedback from musicians, guest artists, promoters, audiences and the press

    Aim 3

    Explore the background, well-known to contemporary audiences, of an enduring baroque masterpiece


    » see aim 1

    What success will look like

    We will demonstrate success by monitoring audience attendance and feedback from musicians, guest artists, promoters, audiences and the press

    Aim 4

    Expand the repertoire, creating a companion piece for Purcell's opera


    » see Aim 1

    What success will look like

    Through future bookings, collaborations and repeat performances

    Aim 5

    Help redress the gender balance by promoting female talents


    » see Aim 1

    What success will look like

  • Impact


    Although Purcell's Dido & Aeneas is an established work, its short length means that complimentary programming can be unsatisfactory. We will not only create a new work, but offer a new opportunity to engage with a masterpiece by exploring the character’s backgrounds. We will create a viable template for continued cooperation between TEC, major concert halls and festivals as well as other arts organisations, and help promote the excellent work of female artists in the UK.


    The English Concert’s position as a leader in its field brings with it vast experience dealing with last-minute changes, problems and cancelations. Withdrawals by soloists and key musicians is a common occurrence, but TEC is well placed to source quality replacements quickly and efficiently. Apart from the obvious risk of failing to raise sufficient funds to cover the projected deficit between tour income and costs, there are no other significant risks.


    Supporters will be invited to performances and rehearsals, and will receive regular e-reports as the project unfolds. We will use our website and social media presence to both increase the number of supporters and keep them closely involved.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £7,000 Commission Contribution to commissioning the new work
      £19,000 Musician fees contribution towards the rehearsal and concert costs of the orchestral musicians
      £4,000 Director fees contribution towards artistic director fees
      £1,250 Instrument hire contribution towards hiring keyboard instruments
      £750 Music hire For the hire of musical parts
      £8,000 Soloist fees contribution towards soloist fees
  • Background


    Up to 4 performances will take place in London, followed by up to 4 additional performances at opera and ballet festivals around the country.


    Audiences in the UK who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see a work of this kind. Aspiring young female artists, the musicians of The English Concert, the soloists, and the orchestra’s supporters whose inspiration to support us will be replenished.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The English Concert is among the finest baroque orchestras in the world. Established by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, it has vast expertise across a wide repertoire which it bestows on new generations of musicians and audiences alike, refreshing its own creative springs at the same time. Under the inspired artistic direction of Harry Bicket, TEC has never been in better shape. Indeed, under Bicket’s leadership, the orchestra has carved an acclaimed specialism in the performance of Handel’s operas.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Harry Bicket

    Artistic Director and conductor. Renowned conductor Harry Bicket is much in demand by orchestras and opera houses across the world

    World-Class Soloists

    a cast of world-class soloists will be performing this much-loved work.


    An exceptional female UK talent will be engaged to create this new work