After Dido - ENO/Young Vic - video and projection by 59


Director Katie Mitchell

Designer Vicki Mortimer

Director of Photography Leo Warner for Fifty Nine Productions

Lighting designer Philip Gladwell

Sound Design Gareth Fry

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After Dido



Leo Warner, director of Fifty Nine Productions, continues a series of collaborations with director Katie Mitchell with this new production, inspired by Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. The production runs from 15th to 25th of April 2009.


"The technical aspects of the show are staggering. The film shots are not only beautifully composed, lit, and executed but the process happens in real time before our very eyes. At any given moment we can choose whether to look at the live action or the finished shot, and seeing both lets us in on the artifice and deception behind all creative art....But far from being merely an intriguing technical exercise, After Dido is a highly emotional experience, too. The way in which Mitchell’s film becomes a visual expression of the music, the way Purcell’s arias and instrumental interludes (beautifully played by members of the ENO orchestra directed by Christian Curnyn) reflect the characters’ innermost thoughts and feelings is poetically achieved."

***** Independent

"Video has been used in opera, with one degree of effectiveness or another, for years but probably never as extensively or boldly as here.... it’s undeniable we’re seeing a breaking of boundaries, consummately executed."

"Mitchell, aided by Leo Warner, the director of photography, brings us a many-layered interpretation of Purcell’s opera in what has become the team’s hallmark multimedia style. The results are visually lovely yet fiercely compelling: an interweaving of disparate lives and individual fates, and an acknowledgement of music’s power to heal and to ignite a frightening blaze of feeling.... a work in which there is a genuine, and dramatically thrilling, dialogue not just between media, but between art forms. Gorgeous"

The Times

"Katie Mitchell's production After Dido is described as "inspired by Purcell's Dido and Aeneas". Jointly produced by the ENO and the Young Vic, it's film and it's theatre and it's opera. It's the third Dido production in London in the past month: the opera has been playing at Covent Garden, and Marlowe's play at the National. Mitchell's meditation on Purcell contains the opera but also shows elliptic footage of 21st-century lost romances. At its worst (rare) it allows banal speech to be sacredly intoned across the music; at its best (often) it gives 21st-century domestic desolation a new, more resonant voice."


"It's a fascinating exposition of the route from process to product, with a stark contrast between how the finished story shows (clear, calm, considered) and the way it's made (busily hyperactive: people scurrying about with cables).

But more than this, the story that results is gutting. I could carp about the way the music isn't centre-stage, but I have rarely felt so drawn into the agony of Dido's loss. In Mitchell's re-imagining, she stops being a queen, a regal archetype, and turns into a woman: somebody who lives next door, alone, hurt, struggling.

This is a production that exemplifies what art should do. It shows you something about being human. And it does it powerfully."

The Telegraph

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