Main content

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Donald Macleod explores Henry Purcell's music for the theatre, from songs he wrote for plays in the 1680s to the semi-opera The Indian Queen, which he did not live to complete.

In the last five years of his life Purcell was to contribute music to around 50 stage productions. The reign of William and Mary brought about a scaling back of court music, so the composer turned to the theatre as a source of income. He became a more public figure in the process, and began to work with playwrights such as John Dryden, chief poet of the Restoration on colloborations including King Arthur.

Donald also explores Purcell's music for a spectacular 1692 adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Fairy Queen.

Release date:


56 minutes


Role Contributor
Composer Henry Purcell

Featured in...