Purcells Dido and Aeneas – his only opera without any spoken text – was performed in 1689 by the 'young gentlewomen' of Josias Priest’s Chelsea School. It has since been reprised countless times in all sorts of forms, including with a man in the role of Sorceress.
Dido’s lament 'When I am Laid in Earth' – the bassline of which is already enough to give you goosebumps – is one of the most famous arias in music history.
originally Dido and Aeneas had an allegorical prologue to music. The score for this has been lost. It also originally had a spoken epilogue.