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PreviousSeptember 2021

Tragédie en musique in five acts (1677)
Music by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Libretto by Philippe Quinault
Concert performance in French language


Again, Jupiter has identified an object of desire for himself, the beautiful nymph Io. Her choice does not remain secret for long: her fiancé Hiérax complains about her infidelity before anything has happened, but although Jupiter spreads his glorious power and greatness before her, Io rejects his applications. But that doesn't help her, because Juno, Jupiter's jealous wife, has also got wind of her husband's latest enthusiasm and wants to eliminate the rival in any case. Jupiter's fogging tactics don't work, Juno puts Io in her grip and exposes her to terrible agony: She must, kidnapped by furies, almost freeze to death in the coldest zone of the earth, almost melt away in the hottest. When Io is washed up on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, she is almost dead. Now Jupiter finally intervenes, reconciles with Juno and makes Io immortal: The nymph becomes the Egyptian goddess Isis. This personal tragedy en musique with the obligatory prologue glorifying the king and five varied acts was the fifth collaboration between Jean-Baptiste Lully and the poet Philippe Quinault, but Isis always remained one of the most unknown operas of the two, which is not necessarily due to the musical quality. The instrumentation is particularly colourful and imaginative, the score contains numerous treasures, such as the desperate aria of Io, "Terminez mes tourments", the almost revue-like third act in which the story of Pan and Syrinx is shown like an opera in the opera as a reflection of the main plot, and the description of the torments of Io in the fourth act. The "Choeur des Trembleurs", who trembles with cold, is said to have been the model for Purcell's "Frost Scene" in King Arthur. Nevertheless, Isis was a failure and ended the career of the brilliant duo Lully/Quinault, because they had become too brazen: The libretto contained an unmistakable allusion to the current competition between two mistresses of Louis XIV. The king was not pleased, and Isis and other works by Quinault were no longer welcome at court.  

Program and cast


Christophe Rousset
Eve-Maud Hubeaux
Bénédicte Tauran
Ambroisine Bré
Cyril Auvity
Fabien Hyon
Edwin Crossley-Mercer
Philippe Estèphe
Aimery Lefèvre
Les Talens Lyriques
Choeur de Chambre de Namur

Theater an der Wien

About the Theater an der Wien

The New Opera House is not just any theatre, but the one that Emanuel Schikaneder, the all-round genius, actor, impresario with a flair for organization but above all librettist of The Magic Flute, had built in 1801 in Vienna in keeping with the spirit of Mozart.

To coincide with the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth the Theater an der Wien presents itself as a new opera house from January 2006. As a “season” opera house with productions all the year round the Theater an der Wien carves a new and independent niche in the realm of high-quality culture in Vienna. For twelve months of the year, with one premiere every month, opera will be performed under the “stagione”, or season, system: that means the cast remains unchanged from the first performance to the last one, which guarantees that the very highest international standards are maintained.

The theatre’s modern, accessible approach to music theatre as demonstrated by the works performed, the overall artistic concept Bespielung and the artistes is further underlined by the building itself, its architecture and the vibrancy of its location. The surroundings and materials, the intimate atmosphere and perfect acoustics in the historical theatre prepare the senses to experience beauty. The Theater an der Wien deliberately enters into a symbiotic relationship with its lively surroundings on the Naschmarkt street market and the young cultural scene centred in the Schleifmühl quarter.

How to get there

With public transport:

We can be reached by public transport: 

U1, U2 und U4 Station Karlsplatz, Exit Secession
Bus 59A Station Bärenmühldurchgang
Bus 57A Station Laimgrubengasse, pedestrians via Laimgrubengasse to Linke Wienzeile

Fleischmarkt 24, 1010 Wien

We can be reached by public transport:
U1, U4: Station Schwedenplatz
Tram Linie D (bei Ablenukung über Kai), 1, 2: Station Schwedenplatz
Bus 3A (on workdays)

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