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"Nais" redirects here. For other uses, see Nais (disambiguation).

Naïs is an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau first performed on 22 April 1749 at the Opéra in Paris. It takes the form of a pastorale héroïque in three acts and a prologue. The librettist was Louis de Cahusac, in the fourth collaboration between him and Rameau. The work bears the subtitle Opéra pour La Paix, which refers to the fact that Rameau composed the opera on the occasion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, at the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession. Its original title was Le triomphe de la paix, but criticism of the terms of the treaty led to a change in the title.[1]

C. M. Girdlestone has listed instrumental music that Rameau borrowed from his own Les Fêtes de Polymnie and Les Paladins for Naïs, and in turn the music that Rameau took from Naïs for Hippolyte et Aricie.[2] Graham Sadler has discussed various facets of Rameau's orchestration for Naïs.[3]


  • Flore, soprano
  • Jupiter bass
  • Naïs, soprano
  • Neptune, haute-contre
  • Palémon bass
  • Pluton, bass
  • Astérion, haute-contre
  • Télénus, bass
  • Tirésie, bass


The god Neptune is enamoured of the water-nymph Naïs, and disguises himself as a mortal to try to win her over. This takes place at the Isthmian Games at Corinth, coincidentally a festival dedicated to Neptune. The god's rivals for the affections of Naïs are the Corinthian chief Telemus and the leader of the Isthmain shepherds, Asterion. The blind soothsayer Tiresias warns Telemus and Asterion to be wary of the sea god, and of the rival stranger. Telemus and Asterion prepare themselves for battle, which climaxes the opera.


  • Erato (1980 recording): English Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra; Nicholas McGegan, conductor


  1. ^ Sadler, Graham, "Naïs, Rameau's 'Opéra pour la Paix'" (July 1980). The Musical Times, 121 (1649): pp. 431-433.
  2. ^ Girdlestone, C.M., "Rameau's Self-Borrowings" (January 1958). Music & Letters, 39 (1): pp. 52-56.
  3. ^ Graham Sadler, "Rameau and the Orchestra" (1981-1982). Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, 108: pp. 47-68.
  • Girdlestone, Cuthbert, Jean-Philippe Rameau: His Life and Work (Dover paperback edition, 1969)
  • Holden, Amanda (Ed.), The New Penguin Opera Guide, New York: Penguin Putnam, 2001. ISBN 0-14-029312-4
  • Sadler, Graham, (Ed.), The New Grove French Baroque Masters Grove/Macmillan, 1988