Annie Lennox sings deeply moving ‘Dido’s Lament’ with massed online choir

6 January 2021, 17:06 | Updated: 8 January 2021, 09:07

Annie Lennox performs ‘Dido’s Lament’ with London City Voices
Annie Lennox performs ‘Dido’s Lament’ with London City Voices. Picture: Annie Lennox/YouTube

By Rosie Pentreath

Purcell’s heart-wrenching Baroque aria – for 2021...

Annie Lennox has teamed up with London City Voices to perform a massed online version of Henry Purcell’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful ‘Dido’s Lament’.

In a multitrack video shared online, the Eurythmics legend joins the choir for a contemporary version of the aria, which has lost none of its potency in 2021 – a staggering 332 years after it was written.

Lennox’s voice sounds stunning and the choir, with a harpsichord-like keyboard accompaniment from the soloist herself, adds a sublime texture to the contemporary performance.

‘Remember me’, Lennox’s powerful vocals intone. ‘Remember me...’

Read more: We asked an expert to explain why ‘Dido’s Lament’ breaks our heart every single time >

Annie Lennox - Dido’s Lament - Choral Performance with London City Voices

As well as being fitting for our uncertain 2021 times, the performance is a climate protest song from Lennox, who’s also an activist. With this song, she’s raising awareness about Greenpeace and its crucial work highlighting the plight of Earth’s ecology in the face of human activities and climate change.

“When it comes to climate catastrophe,” Lennox says. “We are on the edge of abyss. I really believe we don’t have much time left to make an effective change.”

Lennox continues: “We are looking at a civilisation on the downwards side. This is the truth of this matter. It’s staring us in the face and we are not paying any significant attention – continuing on as if it doesn’t exist. I see ‘Dido’s Lament’ as a lament for our dying planet.”

This version was released at the end of 2020 and Lennox says, “It’s been such an honour and privilege to have been able to create this unique event in collaboration with the London City Voices Choir during this unprecedented time of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.”

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She continues: “As a long-term supporter of Greenpeace I am deeply concerned by the Global Climate Crisis, which I feel is the most urgent challenge we all have to face, particularly with regard to sustainability for future generations.

“Additionally, I feel a tremendous sense of empathy and concern for everyone who has lost a dearly beloved friend or family member this year and hope this recording can offer a moment of shared collective mourning for those whose lives have been taken”

‘Dido’s Lament’ is another name for the aria ‘When I am laid in earth’ from the Baroque composer Purcell’s 1688 opera, Dido and Aeneas.

An incredibly powerful listen, as we go into a 2021 riddled with uncertainty... We’re grateful for this moment of poignant escapism, and the crucial message it carries with it.