Dido and Aeneas
Background: Aeneas has landed in Carthage on his long journey to Italy after the Trojan War.
Dido, widow of the King of Carthage, has fallen in love with Aeneas, moved by the tale of his flight from the ruins of Troy. She hides her feelings, however, because she had sworn never to marry again. Urged on by Belinda, Dido finally gives in to Aeneas’ desires. Aeneas promises to postpone his journey home in order to stay with Dido. The court rejoices at the royal alliance.
Dido’s enemy, a sorceress, plots with her witches against the queen. The witches want to destroy Carthage as well as Dido and Aeneas’ love. They conjure up a storm which will force Aeneas to take shelter away from Dido; they will then send a spirit to appear to him, reminding him of his duty to return to Italy. This, the witches hope, will make him give up Dido.
During a morning hunt, members of the court entertain Dido and Aeneas with songs and dances. A storm begins and the queen and her retinue hurry back to the city. Aeneas remains alone and hears the false spirit’s message: Jupiter himself commands that Aeneas is not to stay another day with Dido. Distraught, Aeneas resigns himself to the fact that he must leave Carthage in order to found a new Troy.
The Trojan sailors taking leave from their lovers; they are looking forward to setting sail. The sorceress predicts that Dido’s death is nigh, and the queen too anticipates her fate. Aeneas admits to Dido that he must leave Carthage. On seeing her desperation he decides to go against Jupiter’s command. Dido, her pride wounded, insists that Aeneas must leave her. When he goes, she dies of a broken heart.
Judith has fallen in love with Bluebeard, and she marries him, against the objections of her family. She asks for the keys to seven locked doors inside his castle. Judith wants to bring some light into the cold, damp, dark castle. Bluebeard reminds Judith about the rumors that circulate about him. His warnings don’t deter her from wanting to open all the doors in the castle. He reluctantly gives in.
The first door leads to his torture chamber.
Behind the second door, Judith finds Bluebeard’s weapons. She shows no fear, despite seeing bloodstains. She demands the other keys.
The third door reveals Bluebeard’s treasure chamber. Traces of blood on the jewels dampen Judith’s joy.
Bluebeard is now keen for Judith to open the fourth door. A flowering garden is hidden behind it. The blooms are flecked with blood.
Bluebeard then orders Judith to unlock the fifth door. There she finds a beautiful landscape. Judith notices that there is a bloodstained cloud obscuring the sun.
She wants to open the last two doors. Bluebeard fails in his attempts to restrain her. Behind the sixth door is a lake of tears. The castle gets darker.
Judith wants to know what is behind the seventh door. Bluebeard resists before yielding to Judith’s reproaches. He gives her the last key.
Behind the seventh door she finds Bluebeard’s three previous wives. He tells Judith that he found the first at daybreak, the second at noon and the third in the evening. Judith belongs to the night. The castle remains dark forever.