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Queen Mary’s Stages the Opera Dido & Aeneas

Queen Mary’s School is to stage Purcell’s classic opera Dido & Aeneas on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March.

Ripon girl, Emilia Jaques, who is Head Chorister at Queen Mary’s School and this year’s female BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year will lead an outstanding cast of singers and dancers in this challenging production.

First performed by an independent girls’ school in Chelsea in 1689, the story follows Dido, the Queen of Carthage, through her unrequited love for Trojan hero Aeneas to her eventual tragic death. In this fully-staged and costumed performance, the young singers will bring to life a moving musical story of love, fate and tragedy.

Taking the part of Dido, the Queen of Carthage is 16 year old female BBC Young Chorister of the Year, Emilia Jaques. The role of Sorceress will be played by the talented young mezzo soprano Tilly Armstrong and Belinda, Dido’s sister by former York Minster chorister Elizabeth Nolan. They will lead a cast of talented singers and dancers alongside an orchestra where Queen Mary’s girls will play alongside professional musicians. The production is directed by Queen Mary’s vocal coach Anna Bleiker and Director of Music, Sarah Holloway Lloyd.

Sarah Holloway Lloyd is delighted: “I am sure many may think; an Opera, for a school where all the girls are sixteen and under, how can this be done? It was a simple decision as the breadth of musical aptitude within Queen Mary’s is outstanding and the girls keep surprising me with their talent, hard work and dedication.”

Carole Cameron, Head of Queen Mary’s School says: “This is an ambitious production for the school that extends the girls’ learning and nurtures their talents. I am extremely proud of every member of the cast and the team behind the scenes who are all working hard to make Dido & Aeneas a spectacular production.”

Performances will take place on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March. The evenings will begin with an optional pre-theatre talk before a drinks reception with live music followed by the opera itself. Tickets priced at £10 are available by calling 01845 575000 or emailing

Queen Mary’s offers a broad curriculum, allowing pupils to pursue their interests within small classes designed to encourage their development and achievement. The next Open Morning will take place on Monday 6 May. For more information please call 01845 575040.

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