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Greek Mythology & Opera

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Marilyn Egan

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Greek Mythology & Opera

1600
1700
1800
1900
2000
"La favola d'Orfeo"
"L'Arianna"
"Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria"
"La Calisto"
"Ermione"
"Dido and Aeneas"
"Teseo"
"Castor et Pollux"
"Semele"
"Orfeo ed Euridice"
"Alceste"
"Paride ed Elena"
"Iphingénie en Tauride"
"Iphingénie en Aulide"
"L’Anima del Filosofo"
"Médée"
"Orphée aux Enfers"
"Les Troyens"
"La Belle Hélène"
"Elektra"
"Ariadne auf Naxos"
"Pénélope"
"Oedipus Rex"
"Daphne"
"Die Liebe der Danae"
"King Priam"
"Ulisse"
"The Mask of Orpheus"
"Orphée"
Jacopo Peri
Claudio Monteverdi
George
Frideric Handel
Christoph Gluck
Jacques Offenbach
Richard Strauss
Daphne
Orpheus and Eurydice
Ariadne
Ulysses
Callisto
Hermione
Dido and Aeneas
Theseus
Galatea
Castor and Pollux
Semele
Alcestis
"Idomeneo"
Idomeneus
Iphigenia
Medea
Electra
Penelope
Oedipus
Danae
King Priam of Troy
Greek Mythology in Opera
Endlessly pursued by Apollo, she was turned into a laurel tree by her father for protection.
Apollo and Daphne
Nicholas Poussin, 1625
After Eurydice's death, Orpheus traveled to the Underworld to rescue her. Hades allowed Orpheus to leave with Eurydice, but only if Orpheus did not look at her until they were in the mortal world. Orpheus failed to adhere to Hades' rule, and Eurydice was lost to him.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Peter Paul Rubens, 1636
The Latin name for Odysseus, Ulysses was the ruler of Ithaca. He was a hero of the Trojan War. His voyage home to Ithaca took ten years, and he braved the terrors of the Lotus-eaters, the Sirens, the Cyclopes, and many more.
Ithacan temple, c. 800 B.C.
The daughter of King Midas, Ariadne left Crete with Theseus. When they landed in Naxos, Ariadne was left behind. Dionysus noticed her sadness and married her.
Ariadne and Theseus
Jean-Baptiste Regnault, 1754-1829
Zeus deceived and raped the young follower of Artemis. The goddess banished the pregnant Callisto. Then, the vengeful Hera turned her into a bear. Eventually, Callisto's son found her while hunting, and Zeus sent them into the stars as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Jupiter und Kallisto
Francois Boucher, 1744
The daughter of Helen and Menelaus, she was betrothed to both Orestes and Pyrrhus. The suitors dueled, and Pyrrhus was killed.
The Meeting of Orestes and Hermione
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson, c. 1800
Aeneas, a Trojan, was the son of Aphrodite. While fleeing Troy, Aeneas and his party landed in Carthage. Dido, the queen, and Aeneas fell in love. However, Aeneas left her, and Dido committed suicide.
The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas
Sir Nathaniel Dance-Holland, 1735-1811
The son of King Aegeus of Athens, he returned home to Athens only to be nearly murdered by Medea, but the king recognized him as is son. Theseus was among those sacrificed to King Minos of Crete. As promised, he succeeded in killing the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne. However, Aegeus killed himself, believing that Theseus was dead. Theseus returned and became king.
Athenian red-figure clay cup, c. 440 B.C.
She was a Nereid who was loved by Acis and Polyphemus. In a fit of jealousy, Polyphemus killed Acis. Galatea created the Sicilian river Acis out of his blood.
The Triumph of Galatea
Raphael, 1512
The twins sons of Zeus were known for four deeds. They rescued their sister, Helen, from Theseus. They joined Jason and the Argonauts. They assisted Peleus in his attack on Iolcas. They abducted and married the daughters of Leucippus. Castor was killed, and Pollux was granted immortality. However, they split their time in Olympus and Hades.
Castor and Pollux Abduct the Daughters of Leukyppos
Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1618
Semele was loved by Zeus and the mother of Dionysus. Hera deceived Semele, and Zeus accidentally killed her. He saved Dionysus, who rescued Semele from the underworld.
Zeus and Semele
Jan Voorhout, 1647-1723
The daughter of King Pelias, she was not a part of her sisters' successful plot to kill their father. As the wife of Admetus, she volunteered to die in his place. Heracles rescued her from the Underworld.
Alcestis Sacrifices Herself for Admetus
Friedrich Heinrich Fruder, 1805
Aphrodite-
Venus
-
goddess of love and beauty
Apollo-
Apollo
-
god of the sun, arts, and medicine
Ares-
Mars
-
god of war
Artemis-
Diana
-
goddess of the hunt
Athena-
Minerva
-
goddess of wisdom, warfare, and crafts
Demeter-
Ceres
-
goddess of grain and farming
Hephaestus-
Vulcan
-
god of fire and industry
Hera-
Juno
-
queen of the gods and protector of marriage and child birth
Hermes-
Mercury
-
messenger of the gods
Hestia-
Vestia
-
goddess of the hearth
Poseidon-
Neptune
-
god of the sea
Zeus-
Jupiter
-
king of the gods and projector of justice
The
Greek
and
Roman
Olympians
Other Major Gods and Goddesses
Dionysus-
Bacchus
-
god of wine and revelry
Hades-
Pluto
-
king of the underworld
Persephone-
Proserpina
-
queen of the underworld
Prometheus
-
giver of fire
The Council of the Gods
Peter Paul Rubens, 1624
Common Themes in Greek Mythology
Transformation
War
Love
Heroes
The Underworld
Mortality and Fate
Major heroes were Heracles, Odysseus, Perseus, Jason and the Argonauts, Achilles, and Theseus.
The gods and goddesses had the ability to transform themselves into animals or humans. They often used the power to deceive. They would also transform humans to save or punish them.
In addition to myths about warriors, the Trojan War and the war against the Titans were chronicled.
Some myths detailed the Greek value of trust and loyalty. Many detailed Zeus' affairs with mortals and the consequences. Others ended in tragedy.
Myths involving the Underworld included heroes' journeys for advice or prophecies, an explanation of the seasons, and lessons on the finality of death.
Hospitality and generosity were often rewarded while greed, vanity, and heartlessness were punished. Claiming god-like qualities or defying the gods were met with severe punishment.
Apollo and Daphne
John William Waterhouse, 1908
Cupid and Psyche
Sir Anthony van Dyck, 1640
Perseus Confronting Phineus with the Head of Medusa
Sebastiano Ricci, c. 1710
Orpheus and Eurydice
Titian, c. 1508
The Lament for Icarus
Herbert James Draper, 1898
The Intervention of the Sabine Woman
Jacques-Louis David, 1799
The King of Crete during the Trojan War, Idomeneus made a deal with Poseidon to sacrifice the first living thing he saw in order to get out of a storm. His son, Idamantes, was the first person that he saw, and Idomeneus sacrificed him. He was driven from Crete by the gods.
Le retour d'Idomédée
Palais Niel
Agamemnon, the leader of Greek forces at Troy, was forced to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, when he angered Athena. She was summoned under the facade of marrying Achilles. Just as she was about to be killed, she was miraculously transported to Taurus.
The

Sacrifice of Iphigenia
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1757
Helen and Paris
Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Aphrodite promised to give Helen to Paris when he gave her the apple that said "To the fairest." Aphrodite helped Paris kidnap Helen from Menelaus, her husband. This was the beginning of the Trojan War.
Paris and Helen
Jacques-Louis David, 1788
One the great sorceresses, Medea took revenge on Jason when he betrayed her to marry another. Medea poisoned the bride and her father, King Creon. Medea also murdered the two children that she had with Jason.
Medea About to Kill Her Children
Eugène Delacroix, 1838
The Trojan War
Lasting ten years, the Trojan War began with the abduction of Helen and ended with the burning of Troy after the Greeks built the Trojan horse. Menelaus led the Greeks to defend Helen's honor along with Achilles and Odysseus. The defenders of Troy included Hector and Paris. Both were killed. Of the Greek commanders, only Menelaus, accompanied by Helen, and Odysseus returned home.
The Destruction of Troy
Pieter Schoubroeck, 1606
Penelope was faithful to her husband, Odysseus, when he failed to return from the Trojan War for ten years. She deceived her many suitors until Odysseus returned.
Penelope and the Suitors
John William Waterhouse, 1912
Electra's mother killed her father, Agamemnon, when he returned from the Trojan War. With her brother, Orestes, she killed her mother and her mother's lover to avenge her father's death.
Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon
Frederic Leighton, 1869
At his birth, it was prophesied that he would kill his father and marry his mother, the king and queen of the Thebes. He was abandoned as a baby, but saved by a shepherd and adopted by the king of Corinth. Years later, he unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy and became King of Thebes after defeating the Sphinx.
Oedipus and the Sphinx
François-Xavier Fabre, c. 1808
An oracle warned that Danae's son would kill her father, Acrisius. He shut her away, but she still had a child with Zeus named Perseus. Acrisius set them adrift in the sea, but they were given sanctuary in Seriphus. Later, Perseus killed the king of Seriphus, defending his mother's honor.
Danae and Perseus on Seriphus
Henry Fuseli, c. 1790
He became king after his brothers were killed by Heracles. Priam was the father of Hector and Paris. He begged Achilles to return Hector's body to the Trojans. However, he unsuccessfully defended Troy during the war and died during the burning of Troy.
Priam Asking Achilles for Hector's Body
Alexander Ivanov, 1824
1561-1633
http://markalburgermusichistory.blogspot.com/2008/06/jacopo-peri-1561-1633.html
Peri worked with other Florentine artists to create a style of music that captured the simplicity of ancient-Greek dramas. He worked with poets, musicians, and writers such as Giovanni Bardi, Vincenzo Galilei, and Corsi.
Early Baroque
1567-1643
Baroque
Most well known for his three surviving operas and madrigals, Monteverdi composed for the Duke of Mantua and as the
maestro di capella
in St. Mark's basilica in Venice. He was one of the most influential early opera composers.
http://www.cyberbass.com/Major_Works/Monteverdi_C/monteverdi.htm
1715-1759
Late Baroque
Handel, a German-born composer, was heavily influenced by the Italian style. As his popularity grew, Handel became the personal composer for the future King George I of England. At first, his operas were extremely popular. Eventually he had to fight the declining popularity of Italian opera in England. He turned to oratorios, composing "The Messiah." It is said that his music reflects the English national character of the time.
http://thehandelfestivalorchestra.org/
1714-1787
Classical
After studying and working in Milan and London, Gluck traveled to Vienna where Prince Joseph Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen made him Kapellmeister. In Vienna, he composed his most well know works, which were based on Greek mythology. These included his three Italian
reform operas
: "Orfeo ed Euridice," "Alceste," and "Paride ed Elena."
1818-1880
Romantic
A German-born composer who spent much of his life in France, Offenbach was the first major writer of full-length operetta. He satirized politics, culture, and grand opera. Two of his most well-known operettas are "Orpheus in the Underworld" and "La Belle Helene." Eventually, he and his family were forced to seek political asylum in Spain when war between France and Germany broke out.
http://www.last.fm/music/Jacques+Offenbach
1864-1949
Romantic
By the time that he left school at eighteen, Strauss had already composed more than 140 pieces. Strauss was a Wagner fan and, after "Don Juan" premiered, was dubbed Wagner's heir. Never interested in politics, Strauss was taken advantage of by the Nazis in the early years of the National Socialist takeover while he served as President of the Chamber State of Music, but he became disillusioned. He spent the duration of World War II protecting his Jewish daughter-in-law and his grandchildren.
"Dafne"
Composer
: Jacopo Peri
Date
: 1598
Myth
: Daphne
The majority of information on this opera has been lost over time.
http://www.nndb.com/people/694/000097403/
"Euridice"
Composer
: Jacopo Peri
Date
: 1600
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: The opera begins with the wedding of Orpheus and Eurydice, but on that day, Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus plunges into despair. However, Aphrodite takes him to the Underworld, telling him to use his music to save Eurydice. Hades allows Orpheus to save Eurydice, and they leave the Underworld together to live in happiness.
Operatic Adaption
: Orpheus succeeds in saving Eurydice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euridice_(Peri)
Composer
: Claudio Monteverdi
Date
: 1607
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: Orpheus and Eurydice are married, but one day she is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus travel to the Underworld to save her. Hades allows him to return Eurydice to earth if Orpheus does not look at her before they leave the Underworld. Forgetting Hades' rule, Orpheus turns to Eurydice and loses her again.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'Orfeo
Composer
: Claudio Monteverdi
Date
: 1608
Myth
: Ariadne
Only Arianna's lament is still in existence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arianna_lament_1623.png
Composer
: Claudio Monteverdi
Date
: 1641
Myth
: Odysseus
Synopsis
: Penelope laments her husband's long absence. Poseidon strands Odysseus on a beach, but Athena saves him. Penelope is harassed by suitors. Odysseus returns to Ithaca and reunites with his son, Telemachus. Upon hearing of Odysseus' return, the suitors plot to kill Telemachus. Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, wins Penelope's archery contest and kills the suitors. Odysseus and Penelope are reunited once they are able to convince Penelope that Odysseus is truly Odysseus.
http://2009.eif.co.uk/handspring
Composer
: Francesco Cavalli
Date
: 1651
Myth
: Callisto
Synopsis
: Zeus deceives and seduces Callisto, a follower of Artemis, the virgin goddess. At the same time, Artemis falls in love with Endimione, a shepherd. Pane, a satyr, is also falling in love with Artemis. After hearing of Callisto's encounter with Zeus, Artemis banishes Callisto. Then, Hera turns her into a bear to take revenge for Zeus' infidelity. Pane learns of Endimione's love for Artemis and tortures him. Pane eventually leaves Endimione and Artemis alone. Finally, Zeus takes pity on Callisto and sends her into the stars.
Operatic Adaption
: Endimione and Pane are not a part of the original myth.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128696422
Composer
: Gioacchino Rossini
Date
: 1819
Myth
: Hermione
Synopsis
: Pyrrhus is promised to Hermione, but he loves Andromache, who rejects his advances. Meanwhile, Orestes loves Hermione, but she refuses him. Hermione demands that Andromache's son be killed. Before she succeeds, Pyrrhus proposes to Andromache in court, and she consents to save her son. Orestes is convinced to kill Pyrrhus by Hermione. However, when she sees the bloody dagger, she curses him.
Operatic Adaption
: Pyrrhus' death is part of a plot rather than part of a duel.
http://www.gbopera.it/2008/09/ermione-cronaca-di-un-trionfo/
Composer
: Henry Purcell
Date
: 1689
Myth
: Dido and Aeneas
Synopsis
: Dido, the Queen of Carthage, entertains Aeneas, a young Trojan prince fleeing the aftermath of the Trojan War. They fall in love, but the witches' plot deceives them. Aeneas leaves for Italy, and Dido commits suicide when he is gone.
Operatic Adaption
: In the myth, Aeneas' voyage to Italy was his destiny given to him by Zeus.
http://berkshirereview.newyorkarts.net/2009/page/9/
Composer
: George Friderick Handel
Date
: 1713
Myth
: Theseus
Synopsis
: Agilea loves Teseo, but King Egeo, who was previously promised to Medea, wants to marry Agilea. Medea decides that if she cannot marry the king, only Teseo is worthy of her. The king has a change of heart and declares that Agilea and Teseo will be married, but Medea abducts Agilea using magic in a fit of jealousy. Agilea agrees to marry the king in order save Teseo's life. Medea relents and gives the couple her blessing, however, she decides to kill Teseo after all. She attempts to give Teseo poisoned wine, but the king recognizes Teseo as his son. Teseo and Agilea are married, but Medea attempts to burn everything. Finally, Athena puts out the flames.
Composer
: George Friderick Handel
Date
: 1718
Myth
: Galatea
Synopsis
: Galatea and Acis are in love, and they are counseled by Damon, a shepherd. Polyphemus, a monster, is jealous and threatens Acis. Polyphemus crushes Acis with a large boulder. Galatea turns Acis' remains into a fountain.
"Acis and Galatea"
http://www.mooneyontheatre.com/2010/11/02/review-acis-and-galatea-opera-atelier/
Composer
: George Friderick Handel
Date
: 1744
Myth
: Semele
Synopsis
: Semele is to be married, but she is in love with Zeus. During her wedding, Zeus appears and carries her off. Hera is enraged to hear the Zeus has a new mistress and plots against Semele. Hera deceives Semele into asking to see Zeus in his godly form. After making Zeus promise to grant her wish, Semele asks to see Zeus. He tries to dissuade her, but eventually appears to Semele in his godly splendor. Semele is destroyed, and Dionysus rises from her ashes.
Composer
: Jean-Philippe Rameau
Date
: 1737
Myth
: Castor and Pollux
Synopsis
: Castor is mortal, and Pollux is immortal. However, both of the twins are in love with Princess Telaira. She only loves Castor, but he dies in battle. Telaira begs Pollux to try to bring Castor back. Pollux agrees, all the while rejecting the advances of Pheobe, who eventually kills herself. Castor returns for one day, and Telaira feels betrayed. Finally, Zeus grants both of the twins immortality, and they live together in the stars as Gemini.
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/oct/25/castor-and-pollux-eno-review
Composer
: Christoph Gluck
Date
: 1791
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: The opera begins with Eurydice's funeral. Cupid tells Orpheus that he can rescue her from the Underworld, but Orpheus must not look at her until they are in the mortal world. Orpheus looks at Eurydice when she faints, and he loses her again. However, Cupid returns Eurydice to life as a reward for Orpheus' fidelity.
Operatic Adaption
: Eurydice is able to come back to life.
http://medicine-opera.com/2009/01/orfeo-ed-euridice-in-hd/
Composer
: Christoph Gluck
Date
: 1767
Myth
: Alcestis
Synopsis
: Admetus is about to die, and Apollo says that someone can take his place. Alcestis volunteers to sacrifice herself. When Admetus learns of this, he tries to commit suicide, but Apollo stays his hand. He sees Apollo and Alcestis above, and Apollo allows Alcestis to return to her family.
Operatic Adaption
: Apollo grants Alcestis life again whereas Heracles was her savior in the myth.
http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2009/08/fine-cast-glitzy-production-provide-mixed-rewards-in-santa-fes-alceste/
Composer
: Christoph Gluck
Date
: 1779
Myth
: Paris and Helen
Synopsis
: After choosing Aphrodite as the fairest, Paris travels to Sparta to win Helen's love. They marvel in each other's beauty, but Helen refuses when Paris tells her the truth. Aphrodite intervenes, and eventually Helen agrees to leave with Paris. Before they set out for Troy, Athena warns them of sorrows that will come.
http://www.gonews.it/articolo_10909_Paride-Elena-Gluck-Teatro-Goldoni.html
Composer
: Christoph Gluck
Date
: 1779
Myth
: Iphingenia
Synopsis
: Iphingenia grieves for her family with the other priestesses in the temple of Athena. She is ordered by the king, Thoas, to sacrifice two Greek men. The men are her brother, Orestes, and his friend, Pylade, but she does not recognize them. Orestes is mad and stalked by the Furies in his dreams. Iphingenia questions him on the whereabouts of her family. He says that Orestes killed himself. Iphingenia can only save one of them, and Orestes forces her to choose Pylade. Iphingenia cannot force herself to kill him, and they realize that they are siblings. Thoas bursts in and chaos erupts. Athena sets all of the Greeks free, and Iphingenia and Orestes return home.
http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/grecian_formula_works_for_domingo_ADhnlPMJl3hbs9IhK4F6jK
Composer
: Christoph Gluck
Date
: 1779
Myth
: Iphingenia
Synopsis
: Agamemnon angers Athena, and the only way to appease her is to sacrifice his daughter Iphingenie. He agrees, and Iphingenie is brought to Aulide under the facade of visiting Achilles, her fiance. The Greeks demand that Iphingenie be sacrificed, and Achilles vows to protect her. Despite her mother's and Achilles' protests, Iphingenie will be sacrificed. The Greeks pray for good fortune in the war. Just as Iphingenie is about to be killed, Achilles saves her, and Athena allows her to go free.
Major Changes
: Iphingenie does not go to Taurus.
http://www.het-muziektheater.nl/en/program/2011-2012/iphigenie/
Composer
: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Date
: 1781
Myth
: Idomeneus
Synopsis
: Illia is in love with Idamantes, the son of Idomeneus. Idomeneus has miraculously survived the sinking of the Greek fleet, but he must kill the first living thing that he sees to appease Poseidon. He sees Idamantes first. Idomeneus will not kill his son so a sea monster comes and terrorizes the surrounding area. Eventually, Idomeneus kills the monster, and Poseidon agrees to let Idamantes live if Idomeneus allows Idamantes to be king. Idomeneus obliges, and Illia and Idamantes are married.
Operatic Adaption
: In the myth, he sacrifices Idamantes.
http://www.bayerische.staatsoper.de/889-ZmxhZz0xJmlkPTEyNTMmbD1lbg-~spielplan~oper~veranstaltungen~vorstellung.html
Composer
: Luigi Cherubini
Date
: 1797
Myth
: Medea
Synopsis
: Medea refuses to accept that Jason, with whom she has two children, is leaving her as his wedding to Dirce, the daughter of King Creon, approaches. Jason refuses to give her children to her. During the wedding, Medea poisons the bride. Medea kills her children in order to hurt Jason even more. Finally, she burns the temple where the wedding was to take place before fleeing.
http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/mele-at-the-opera-catcalls-for-paris-mde/
Composer
: Joseph Haydn
Date
: 1791
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: Eurydice is saved by Orpheus while fleeing from an arranged marriage. Her father, King Creon, allows her to marry Orpheus. Eurydice is abducted by the man she was supposed to marry before she was saved by Orpheus. While trying to escape, she is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus travels to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice, but Orpheus cannot resist the urge to look back at her. Because of this, she dies again. Back on earth, Orpheus is poisoned and dies a painful death.
Operatic Adaption
: Eurydice's arranged marriage is not in the original myth. Additionally, the myth says nothing of Orpheus' death.
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/a-handle-on-haydn-6846256.html
Composer
: Jacques Offenbach
Date
: 1858
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: Public opinion makes itself known from the beginning. Orpheus and Eurydice are unhappily married, and Eurydice has an affair with Hades in disguise. When Orpheus attempts to kill her lover, he actually kills Eurydice. Public opinion forces Orpheus to attempt to save Eurydice. He travels to the Underworld with the help of Zeus. Hades allows Orpheus to leave with Eurydice, but he cannot turn to look at her. Zeus throws a thunderbolt and startles Orpheus into looking at Eurydice. He is happy at the loss of Eurydice, who becomes a priestess of Dionysus.
Operatic Adaption
: In the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice are in love, and Orpheus mourns her death.
http://www.bachtrack.com/Orpheus+in+the+Underworld+-+the+antidote+to+highbrow+opera
Composer
: Jacques Offenbach
Date
: 1864
Myth
: Helen and Paris
Synopsis
: Aphrodite promises Helen, the wife of Menelaus, to Paris after he declares that she is the fairest. Paris sneaks into Helen's bedroom, but they are discovered by Menelaus. Paris is denounced by Menelaus and the other kings. At the seaside, Helen is still trying to convince the kings of her innocence. Finally, a priest of Aphrodite arrives, but he is actually Paris. Together, Paris and Helen go to Troy.
http://en.opera.se/forestallningar/skona-helena-2002-2003/
Composer
: Hector Berlioz
Date
: 1863
Myth
: The Trojan War and Dido and Aeneas
Synopsis
: The Trojans bring the Trojan horse into the city, effectively ending the Trojan War with the burning of Troy. Aeneas is told to flee by Hector's ghost, and he manages to escape. He and his men land in Carthage where Dido is queen. They fall in love, but Aeneas is reminded by Zeus that sailing to Italy is his fate. He leaves, and Dido, alone and betrayed, commits suicide.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/arts/music/berliozs-troyens-returns-to-metropolitan-opera.html?_r=0
Composer
: Richard Strauss
Date
: 1909
Myth
: Electra
Synopsis
: Agamemnon is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. Electra mourns her father's death and seeks revenge. Clytemnestra seeks out Electra as she tries to rid herself of her demons. Electra suggests sacrifice and describes Orestes' plan to avenge their father's death. Electra is told that Orestes is dead, but he finds her while she is searching for the ax that killed her father. Aegisthus is killed by Orestes. Electra dances in triumph and falls dead on the ground. Her sister is left yelling for Orestes.
Composer
: Richard Strauss
Date
: 1912
Myth
: Ariadne
Synopsis
: Two theater companies, a comedy group led by Zerbinetta and an opera company performing Ariadne auf Naxos, are forced to perform together. In the performance, Ariadne laments the loss and betrayal of Theseus. Zerbinetta and four comedians attempt to cheer up Ariadne. They tell her that all she has to do is find another love. Dionysus arrives and instantly falls in love with Ariadne. Zerbinetta boasts that she was right all along.
Operatic Adaption
: The addition of Zerbinetta and the comedians adds more lighthearted quality to the tragic myth.
Composer
: Richard Strauss
Date
: 1938
Myth
: Daphne
Synopsis
: At a feast in Dionysus' honor, Daphne is pursued by Leukippos, but she runs away. Apollo arrives, disguised as a cowherd. During a dance, he unmasks Leukippos and, feeling challenged, kills him. Daphne's mourning convinces Apollo to make Leukippos his flute player and to turn Daphne into a laurel tree.
Operatic Adaption
: Daphne is pursued by Leukippos in the opera, but, in the myth, Apollo is hopelessly in love with her.
Composer
: Richard Strauss
Date
: 1944
Myth
: Danae
Synopis
: King Pollux marries his daughter, Danae, to King Midas. Danae has no interest in men but a great interest in gold. Zeus has been visiting her in the form of a gold shower. After they are married, King Midas turns Danae into a golden statue. When forced to choose between Zeus and King Midas, Danae chooses the king. In the end, Danae is happy to say farewell to Zeus.
Operatic Adaption
: In the original myth of Danae, she is the mother of the hero Perseus, and King Midas is never mentioned.
http://seattletimes.com/html/thearts/2008246127_elektra12.html
http://www.janeredding.com/photos.asp
http://whirledview.typepad.com/whirledview/2007/08/shades-of-green.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/arts/music/die-liebe-der-danae-at-bard-summerscape-festival-review.html
Composer
: Gabriel Faur
é
Date
: 1913
Myth
: Penelope
Synopsis
: Penelope, constantly faithful to Odysseus as he tries to return home, fends off suitors for ten years. She says that she will marry when her weaving is complete, but she unravels it every night. Eventually, her trick is discovered. Next, she says that she will marry the man that can string Odysseus' bow. The next day, Odysseus returns, and they are reunited.
http://michaelchadwickphotography.com/perfarts/manhattan-school-of-music-penelope/
Composer
: Igor Stravinsky
Date
: 1927
Myth
: Oedipus
Synopsis
: The people of Thebes ask Oedipus to save them from the plague. Oedipus suspects that Creon and Tiresias have something to do with the killer on the loose. After multiple consultations with the oracle, it is eventually revealed the Oedipus unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. Jocanda, Oedipus' mother and wife, commits suicide. Unable to live with himself, Oedipus leaves Thebes and blinds himself.
http://hi.baidu.com/mistrt/item/32fddae5ee9bd9f62a09a401
Composer
: Michael Tippett
Date
: 1962
Myth
: King Priam and the Trojan War
Synopsis
: After he was told that his son would bring about the ruin of Troy, he ordered Paris' death. Years later, he and his other son, Hector, find Paris, and Priam accepts him as a son. After Paris chooses Aphrodite as the fairest, the Trojan War begins. Eventually, Priam is found in Achilles' tent begging for Hector's body to be returned. Achilles agrees, and both know that they will not outlive the war. Finally, King Priam kneels before an altar just before Neoptolemus kills him.
http://arthaus-musik.com/dvd/musik/oper/media/details/king_priam.html?no_cache=1
Composer
: Luigi Dallapiccola
Date
: 1968
Myth
: Odysseus
Synopsis
: The opera begins with Calypso lamenting Odysseus' departure. He then recounts his earlier adventures to Calypso's father. In Ithaca, Penelope's suitors plot to kill her son, Telemachus. Odysseus arrives in time to save Telemachus, and the family is reunited. Finally, Odysseus wanders, trying to find the meaning of life.
https://www.schubertiademusic.com/lots/index/page:3/catalog:19
Composer
: Harrison Birstwistle
Date
: 1986
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: Multiple versions of the myths, some contradicting, involving Orpheus and Eurydice, are put together using intricate symbolism.
http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754653837
Composer
: Philip Glass
Date
: 1993
Myth
: Orpheus and Eurydice
Synopsis
: Orpheus, a poet, becomes disillusioned with art and place in the world. When his wife, Eurydice, dies, he follows her into the Underworld between life and death using the Princess' mysterious mirror. The Princess helps Orpheus and Eurydice return to the mortal world. They do not remember their time in the Underworld, and they go about their married lives. The Princess is punished for meddling with the rules of the Underworld.
http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/the-testament-of-orphandeacutee/Content?oid=1664359
Sources:
The majority of the information was gathered from:
www.pantheon.org
www.britannica.com
www.naxos.com > A-Z of Opera
Other sources included:
http://www.vaopera.org/attachments/article/39/Orphee.pdf
http://www.classiccat.net/offenbach_j/biography.php
http://www.nndb.com/people/694/000097403/
http://operastory.co.uk/jacopo-peri-euridice/
http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/opera-ballet/2010-2011/il-ritorno-di-ulisse-in-patria_cnt_15566.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128696422
http://www.operatoday.com/content/2008/02/rossini_ermione.php
http://www.handelhouse.org/discover/george-frideric-handel/opera-synopses/teseo
http://www.pov.bc.ca/pdfs/semele_study_guide.pdf
http://www.eno.org/see-whats-on/productions/production-page.php?itemid=1659&tab=synopsis
http://www.operatoday.com/content/2008/01/gluck_paride_ed.php
http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/synopsis.aspx?customid=206
http://suite101.com/article/glucks-iphignie-en-aulide-a19558
http://www.operatoday.com/content/2008/02/cherubini_medea.php
http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/mythopera.html
http://www.stanford.edu/~plomio/history.html
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