Francesco Cavalli: Erismena
A king haunted by nightmares, fickle princes charming, a young woman disguised as a warrior to find her unfaithful fiancé, a slave who wants to become queen without giving up her lovers – and an old nurse dreaming of love! The portrait gallery in Erismena promises a dizzying toing-and-froing of lovers.
Composed by Cavalli when he became the most eminent composer of his time, Erismena was an immediate success when it was created in Venice in 1655 and performed many times for almost 20 years. Maestro Leonardo García Alarcón, a fervent supporter of Cavalli, has partnered with the director Jean Bellorini, a poet of the stage and troupe manager, to revive this work at the Festival in Aix-en-Provence. With a wealth of arias and tragi-comical situations, Erismena is a type of opera which is both fanciful and human, unlike the mythological compositions of previous decades. Not a single god here, no antique hero, but kings, princesses, soldiers and slaves carried away into a wonderfully intricate plot, where dressing-up and hidden identities ally with powerful desire, to which the magnificent Erismena/Francesca Aspromonte (unforgettable Euridice in Rossi’s Orfeo at the Royal Opera) languidly resists…
Dramma per musica with a prologue and three acts on a libretto by Aurelio Aureli.
Created on 26 (or 30) December 1655 in Venice.
Production: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and its Academy
Coproduction: Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg