Dido & Aeneas, Purcell’s classic operatic love story, comes to this year’s Summer Festival with the Armonico Consort and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas. Inspired by this, we thought we’d surprise you with five facts you may not know about English baroque composer Henry Purcell (1659-1695):
- According to rumours, Purcell could compose well at the age of 9. His first official work is an ode to King Charles for his birthday in 1670.
- While Purcell played at William and Mary’s coronation in 1689 as Westminster Abbey’s organist, attendees in the organ loft passed cash to the young composer, causing tensions between him and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
- It is believed that Purcell died from chocolate poisoning. Another theory is that he caught a cold while his wife locked him out of the house. However it is likely he died from tuberculosis.
- Purcell inspired countless musicians, including Pete Townsend from The Who, who cites the composer’s harmonies as a major influence on the band’s music. The Cold Song by Klaus Nomi was also inspired by the composer’s Cold Song from King Arthur.
- Roger North, a fellow of Purcell reported the composer was a bit of a snob. He took note of music that the public disliked, believing his best work was too good for them to understand.
Dido & Aeneas
7.00pm / 9.00pm, Tuesday 9 June
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