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date: 20 February 2020

Athalie (‘Athaliah’)locked

  • Raymond A. Barr

Extract

(‘Athaliah’)

Opera in five acts by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz to his own libretto (with C. F. Cramer) after Jean Racine ; Rheinsberg, French Theatre of Prince Heinrich, 1785.

Athaliah has usurped the throne after the death of her son Ahaziah and has massacred all the members of the royal house except her grandson Joash, who was rescued by an aunt. The opera opens after Athaliah has been ruling for seven years and as supporters of Joash are conspiring to elevate him to his rightful place on the throne. Athaliah is assassinated during the final struggle and Joash is crowned King of Judah. Schulz wrote his opera, in French, in 1785 for performance at the court, and revised it the following year for the French Theatre in Berlin. The work was musically successful but Schulz’s dedication of it to Princess Amalie (with its unfortunate subject of regicide) misfired, leading to his resignation....

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