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Medea at Burgtheater

Dates

12/20/2018 - 1/2/2019

Theatre

Burgtheater




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Immortalized by Euripides, the story of Medea has inspired numerous literary and musical works. Medea, the mythological sorceress and priestess of Hecate, murders her children when her husband, Jason, whom she had assisted in his successful quest for the Golden Fleece, repudiates her because he wishes to marry another woman. Traditional renditions of the story have portrayed Medea as a demonic figure, but Cherubini and his librettist, François-Benoit Hoffmann, while conveying the sheer horror of Medea's actions, bring out the humanity of a woman who is driven to unspeakable crimes by unbearable pain. In the France of 1797, the story of Medea could have easily been interpreted as an allegory of the Revolution who devours her own children. Cherubini's work is a brilliant synthesis of several types of opera: opéra comique, tragédie lyrique, Gluck's operatic style, and the allegorical opera of the French Revolution. In this opera, Cherubini's mastery of harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration -- which often anticipates the orchestral sound of Beethoven -- truly comes to the fore. Cherubini's peerless handling of musical form and drama rewards the listener with an extraordinary operatic experience. Beethoven admired Cherubini above all his contemporaries, and Medea was not only a source of inspiration but a model as well for Fidelio.

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