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date: 12 November 2019

Persée (‘Perseus’)locked

  • Lois Rosow

Extract

(‘Perseus’)

Tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts by Jean-Baptiste Lully ( see Lully family (opera) §(1) ) to a libretto by Quinault, Philippe after Ovid ’s Metamorphoses; Paris, Opéra, 17 or 18 April 1682.

Andromède [Andromeda] (soprano) and Perseus (haute-contre) love each other, but Andromeda is betrothed to Phinée [Phineus] (baritone); Mérope [Merope] (soprano), who loves Perseus, sides with Phineus. This human drama is resolved only through Perseus’s triumph over supernatural obstacles. In a series of elaborate spectacles he is supplied by the gods with armour and weapons, he slays the Gorgon Méduse [Medusa] (tenor), and monsters are born of Medusa’s blood, all in full view of the audience; Perseus’s rescue of Andromeda is described by the chorus. Persée was the first of Lully’s operas to make extensive use of orchestral accompaniment for solo voices. In addition to the normal Paris revivals (up to 1746), a reworked version was performed at the marriage celebrations of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (...

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