Thésée

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For the town in France, see Thésée, Loir-et-Cher.

Thésée (Theseus) is a tragédie en musique, an early type of French opera, in a prologue and five acts with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully and a libretto by Philippe Quinault based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. It was first performed on 11 January 1675[1] by the Paris Opera for the royal court at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye and was first performed in public in April at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris.

Roles[edit]

Cast Voice type Premiere, 11 January 1675[2]
( Conductor: – )
Pleasures haute-contre, taille (baritenor) Langeais, Miracle
Un Jeu basse-taille (bass-baritone) François Beaumavieille
Bacchus haute-contre La Grille
Venus soprano Beaucreux
Cérès soprano de La Borde
Mars bass Godonesche
Bellone mute (?) Dauphin
Æglé soprano Marie Aubry
Cleone soprano Marie-Madeleine Brigogne
Arcas bass Antoine Morel
Grande Prêtresse de Minerve soprano Marie Verdier
Ægée baritone Jean Gaye
Médée soprano Saint-Christophe
Dorine soprano Mlle Beaucreux
Thésée haute-contre Bernard Clédière
Minerve soprano Des Fronteaux
First old man haute-contre Tholet
Second old man taille Miracle

Synopsis[edit]

The plot centers around a love triangle: Egée wants to marry his ward, princess Æglé, while the sorceress Médée wishes to marry the young warrior Thésée, but Thésée and Æglé love each other. Médée attempts to force the lovers to renounce each other: first by using her magic to bring Æglé to a place of torment, then by convincing Egée to have Thésée killed as a potential threat to his reign. But before Thésée can drink the poison he has been given, Egée realises that Thésée is his lost son. He then gives Æglé to Thésée. Médée takes vengeance by destroying the festive setting, but the goddess Minerve undoes this.

Recording[edit]

  • Thésée, Howard Crook (Thésée), Laura Pudwell (Médée), Ellen Hargis (Æglé), Harry van der Kamp (Égée), Boston Early Music Festival Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs (CPO, 3 CDs, 2007)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Although the original libretto states the date of the premiere as 10 January, most sources give it as 11 January and the listing of performances of Thesée at césar gives the date as 12 January.
  2. ^ According to original libretto.
Sources
  • Original libretto: Thésée. Tragédie en Musique Ornée d'Entrées de Ballet, De Machines & de Changements de Theatre. Representée devant Sa Majesté à Saint Germain en Laye, le dixième jour de Ianvier 1675, Paris, Ballard, 1675 (accessible for free online at Gallica - B.N.F.)
  • The New Grove French Baroque Masters, ed. Graham Sadler (Macmillan, 1986)
  • The Viking Opera Guide ed. Holden (Viking, 1993)
  • (French) Le magazine de l'opéra baroque by Jean-Claude Brenac

External links[edit]