C California Style

Mark Morris Dance Group performers Amber Star Merkens and Domingo Estrada Jr. PHOTO: Costas.

Stage Presence

by C California Style

Choreographer Mark Morris’ epic interpretation of Purcell’s 1689 opera Dido and Aeneas was a breakout moment for the artist in the ’80s.

 Morris danced the dual roles of Dido and the evil sorceress, playing off the notions of femininity and using his expressive, spare movement to underscore the structure of Purcell’s music, rendering the tragedy of Dido’s love for Aeneas profound. After retiring the dance-opera for several years, Morris now sits behind the podium to conduct 20 singers, 12 dancers and the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra through a classic in the canon of modern dance. May 15-16; 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, 949-854-4646; thebarclay.org.

Written and edited by Elizabeth Khuri Chandler.