The sun god Phoebus rises from the sea with his sun chariot. Together with the Nereids, he celebrates the arrival of Venus.
Together with the narrators, the viewer dives into the water and discovers the sunken city of Carthage at the bottom.
The palace, arrival of the court
The Trojan hero Aeneas left the burning Troy with his father on his shoulder and his little son Ascanius and received the order from Zeus to sail to Italy in order to found a new empire there with his companions. On the journey through the Mediterranean, the Trojans come to Carthage. The city is ruled by Queen Dido, who swore after the death of her husband that she would never marry again and only care about the welfare of her state. In Aeneas' honor, Dido gives a feast and falls in love with him. The queen is plagued by great doubts. Belinda dispels her mistress' concerns; she knows that the Trojan is also inclined to Dido.
ACT TWO Witches' Scene
I, hunting party
The witches have gathered in a canyon. Their leader orders that Carthage's power be destroyed in order to punish Dido and Aeneas for their negligence. A witch reports that Aeneas and Dido are on the hunt. She is instructed to disguise Aeneas, disguised as Mercury, of Jupiter's will to sail to Italy immediately. Other witches are said to drive the hunting party back into town in a storm.
Belinda and the court meanwhile enjoy the beauty of the holy grove where they rest. The seer interrupts her joy and announces that this place is bringing calamity. Dido is already approaching and shortly afterwards Aeneas, who has killed a huge boar. As soon as the lovers have withdrawn into the prepared tent, a thunderstorm breaks out; all flee to the city. Aeneas is prevented by the witches from returning to the city. The witch, disguised as Mercury, gives him the order to set off for Italy immediately. The hero is shaken; but he is ready to do his duty.
Sailors, witch scene II, lament
The Trojans are preparing for departure. The witches triumph when they see the unfortunate queen. To Dido the hero's faithlessness appears as a punishment from heaven for not keeping her oath. She no longer wants to accept Aeneas' offer to stay. The lovers accept their fate, which does not take into account their personal desires, and sacrifice their love. Belinda's consolations are in vain. Aeneas sails with his companions. Dido dies.
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