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Queen A Night At The Opera DCC 2

Much has been said about the song, so there will be no attempts here to try to decipher it, but simply said, Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the first true integrations of pomp and circumstance into the rock world. While many records had combined operatic sounds with rock (see The Man Who Sold The World by David Bowie, or Tommy by The Who), this was the first time that opera as an art form had merged with rock. The song took three weeks to record from start to finish, and a legend was started, and later confirmed by Brian and Roger, that so many overdubs had been added that the tape started to wear out; when the band held the tape to the light, they were alarmed to be able to see straight through it.

Queen A Night At The Opera DCC 2

In the right half of the image is a large pyre, which Dido has built on the pretense of burning everything Aeneas left behind him (494-7). At the top of the pyre is the bed in which Aeneas slept, which is shown with an image of Aeneas on it, a representation of the things he left (494-7). Below the pyre are a bellows and a bundle of kindling, tools necessary to make a good fire. On the left, a crowd of onlookers, including Dido's sister Anna and the nurse Barce, shown wearing a wreath on her head (632-3, 637), stands watching what they think will be a sacrifice and ritual pyre meant to free the queen of her love for Aeneas. Dido stands at the top of a set of steps next to the pyre, so that she stands just slightly above the burning pile of wood. She plunges a sword, a gift from Aeneas, into her breast (646-7, 663-5), and begins to fall in the direction of the pyre. In Vergil's text, Dido climbs up onto the pyre and onto the bed itself, where she makes a small speech (651-61) and then falls on her sword, which is the honorable way to commit suicide. Above the pyre, Iris, sent by Juno, prepares to cut the golden lock of hair from the queen's head, to send her soul to the underworld (693-705). (Katy Purington)

In the lower half of the image, Anna and Dido watch as a priest completes a sacrifice. To the left, the priest pours an offering of wine on the altar (452-55). To the right, Anna watches the sacrifice with a cloth covering her face while Dido looks over her shoulder at a pyre behind her that has not yet been lit (494-5, 505-7). In the upper left is the temple of Sychaeus, the late husband of Dido, whose image can be seen on the tomb, and whom Dido has heard calling to her at night (457-61). In the top right corner, winged Mercury advises Aeneas to leave Carthage before Dido decides to attack him with her ships (554-570). (Katy Purington)


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