Purcell's Dido and Aeneas comes to The Albany in Deptford for six performances by Blackheath Halls Opera. Written in the 1680s by composer Henry Purcell with libretto by Nahum Tate, and based on Virgil's The Aeneid, Dido and Aeneas recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan prince and hero Aeneas. Aeneas falls under the spell of a sorceress commanded by the gods, who tempt him away to bring destruction to Carthage and Dido... Baritone Marcus Farnsworth sings the role of the Trojan Hero, joined by German mezzo-soprano Idunnu Munch as the tragic heroine. Countertenor William Towers is The Sorceress. Director Polly Graham and Musical Director Lee Reynolds lead a diverse cast and orchestra in this fully staged production which includes well over 100 local residents of all ages from across the boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich and vocal students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. This is the twelfth year of Blackheath Halls' ambitious community opera project which, with funding from Arts Council England and other trusts, foundations and individuals, continues to encourage audiences and participants to take part in an opera performance, often for the first time. Students from nearby special schools, Greenvale School & Charlton Park Academy have been involved with Blackheath Halls Opera productions for a number of years. Director Polly Graham says: "Our production is inspired by these words from the libretto "Great minds against themselves conspire, and shun the cure they most desire." The stage is Dido's mindscape. We see everything as a manifestation of her thoughts." Blackheath Halls Opera is delighted to have as its patrons, tenor Nicky Spence and conductor Edward Gardner OBE. Spence says: "I am so proud to be a patron of Blackheath Halls Opera, its ambitious community opera programme is welcoming to all and brings so many people together from the local area in which I live. Opera is the biggest team sport in the arts, needing everyone from the director, artists, orchestra and those backstage to come together to make something cohesive and exciting; it is a perfect illustration of all that's important about the word 'community'." Blackheath Halls Opera will be on the road at The Albany this year whilst its permanent home undergoes a £3 million redevelopment. Blackheath Halls opens its doors again in the autumn with improved facilities that will benefit both performers and audiences.