Hippolyte et Aricie
19. May 2019 @ 19:00 - 22:00
Phèdre is passionately in love with her stepson, Hippolyte. When she learns of the alleged death of her husband Thésée, King of Athens, she confesses her love to Hippolyte and offers him the throne. Hippolyte, however, rejects her. He is in love with Aricie, the last descendant of an enemy family. When Thésée, who is believed to be dead, returns, he is witness to a fierce quarrel and believes that Hippolyte wants to abuse Phèdre. At his invocation, Hippolyte is punished by the gods: he is devoured by a hideous sea monster. Phèdre, who realises her guilt, kills herself. In Rameau’s version, the tragic ending of Racine’s Phèdre takes a happier turn: Hippolyte miraculously survives and is ultimately united with his beloved Aricie. Jean-Philippe Rameau was 50 years old when he staged his first opera, Hippolyte et Aricie, in 1733. As the most important musical theorist of his day, he thus created a work that far surpassed the conventions of French musical theatre of the time. “In this opera there is enough music to make ten of it,” the composer André Campra is supposed to have said. “This man will put us all in the shade.” The first performance of Hippolyte et Aricie at Zurich Opera House will be conducted by Emanuelle Haïm, an expert in 18th-century French music, at the rostrum of the Orchestra La Scintilla. The piece will be directed by Jetske Mijnssen, whose productions are characterised by their great psychological finesse. Stéphanie d’Oustrac will return as Phèdre to Zurich Opera House, where she has already been celebrated for her interpretation of Charpentier’s Médée. Cyrille Dubois, a promising young singer from France, will sing Hippolyte, while the French soprano Mélissa Petit, known in Zurich for her roles in Freischütz and Werther, will portray Aricie.