This is a cut-down, updated version of Purcells Dido & Aeneas, created by Howard Goodall in 1986 for the South Bank Show.
Dido is the queen of Carthage and has recently been widowed. Aeneas, a prince of Troy, has stopped briefly in Carthage while on a quest to rebuild Troy in Italy. Dido has fallen in love with him but feels guilty about what she feels is her betrayal of her dead husband. Three evil witches, who hate Dido, see this as a chance to attack and kill her. When Dido and Aeneas go out hunting in the afternoon the witches summon up a storm causing everyone to flee, leaving Dido and Aeneas alone to consummate their love.
While the lovers sleep, one of the witches appears to Aeneas and reminds him that he has made pledges that cannot be broken and he must leave immediately or be cursed by the gods. Reluctantly, he agrees to leave, calls his soldiers and sailors together and begins preparing the fleet.
When Dido awakes she is distraught to find that Aeneas has apparently left. However, he returns to Dido and offers to renounce the gods and stay. Dido refuses him so he leaves for good, after which Dido commits suicide.
This is a very entertaining production and on the whole very well sung. It is more approachable and shorter than the original version by Purcell, and is a good introduction to opera. There were many children in the audience and they certainly appeared to be enjoying it. Recommended.