"Dido's Lament" is the popular name for the aria called "When I am Laid in Earth" from the opera "Dido and Aeneas". The opera's music is by Henry Purcell and the libretto by Nahum Tate. The aria comes towards the end of the opera (Act 3) and is sung by a Soprano playing the title character of Dido. The song is an outpouring of anguish from Dido who takes her own life. The emotional impact of the scene is often attributed in part to the descending semitones which play through much of the song's accompaniment. Given its associations with death and sadness, versions of the song are often heard at Funerals and Remembrance Services.
The music on this page is based on Purcell's original score, with Full Score and the parts for Soprano (Dido), 1st Violins, 2nd Violins, Violas, Cellos (and optional Basses) and a Harpsichord Realisation of the Basso Continuo part. Video, midi and mp3 versions can also be found below or from the left-hand menu.
Here is a video of Dido's Lament by Purcell:
The audio controls below allow you to play the mp3 version of Dido's Lament by Purcell or you can download the MP3 file. You can also download the midi version of Dido's Lament by Purcell or alternatively edit/play the midi file.
The image below is the first page of the sheet music, and here you can download the full sheet music for Dido's Lament by Purcell in PDF format.