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date: 25 February 2020

Ariane [Ariane, ou Le mariage de Bacchus(i) (‘Ariadne, or The Marriage of Bacchus’)]locked

  • Christina Bashford


[Ariane, ou Le mariage de Bacchus(‘Ariadne, or The Marriage of Bacchus’)]

Opéra in a prologue and five acts by Robert Cambert and Luis Grabu to a libretto by Pierre Perrin ; London, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 30 March 1674.

In Perrin’s libretto the story of Bacchus’s wooing of Ariadne on Naxos is complicated by the unsuccessful attempts by Mars, god of war, and Silene [Silenus], Bacchus’s foster-parent, to dissuade him from subordinating war and wine to love.

The work originated as a simple comédie en musique, written by Perrin and Cambert in 1659 at the time of the wedding of Louis XIV but never formally performed. In about 1671–2 Perrin revised and enlarged the libretto, using a bigger cast, more complex plot, corps de ballet and spectacular machine effects; but the opera remained unperformed until 1674, when a troupe of French players visited London and, under Grabu’s direction, inaugurated Charles II’s Royal Academy of Musick with Ariane (in French). The text for a new, allegorical prologue was added in London, possibly by Sébastien Brémond; it celebrated the recent marriage (...

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