In an effort to make classical music relevant, accesible, and inclusive, the INTAKE Organization is pleased to have partnered with the Connecticut Early Music Festival. Founded in 1982, the New London-based Connecticut Early Music Society presents an annual festival of between six and nine concerts each June. The term “early music” refers to both a repertory (European music written before about 1800, including medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical music) and an approach to performance (“historically-informed performance,” including the use of period instruments).

Among the offerings at this year’s festival is Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. The story is based on a short passage in Vergil’s Aeneid in which Aeneas, the mythical founder of Rome, makes a stop in Carthage with his fleet and falls in love with Dido, Carthage’s queen. Purcell completed the opera — the first in the English language — in 1689, and it was first performed in a girl’s school. The Connecticut Early Music Ensemble performance employs a very small instrumental ensemble much like the one that would have been heard at the original performance.

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