Dec. 15, 2023, 7:30 p.m.
«Ouffe!...» is all Platée, the water nymph, can manage to say when Jupiter, the head of the gods, ensnares her with flattering words. Platée – sung by a tenor – lives in a swamp, is the ruler of numerous many-legged creepy-crawlies, and thinks all men are in love with her. But the highest of the gods himself? Things don’t end well for this love-starved nymph, because the gods are only playing a cruel joke on her. Jupiter pretends to be in love with Platée so that he can cure Juno, his wife, of her jealousy – at the expense of the humiliated, disillusioned nymph. Jean-Philippe Rameau’s music theater work Platée is one of the most extraordinary works to come out of the Baroque period. It is an experimental work somewhere between tragedy and comedy, that explores the boundaries between the genres of opera and «ballet bouffon». The music is simply enchanting, shimmering, and vivacious. The opera premiered in Versailles in 1745 to mark the wedding of the heir to the French throne. But the story of an individual who moves between worlds didn’t pass muster at the court, with its clear hierarchies and strict rules. Platée’s insistence that the king of the gods could fall in love with her was an affront. Rameau’s Platée plumbs the depths of the human experience – and is a love letter to theater and art, to boot: In the prologue, Thespis, the inventor of comedy, appears and fires the starting pistol («Formons un spectacle nouveau!»). And with the extravagant figure of La Folie, Rameau ultimately reminds us that good art, indeed life itself, needs a bit of madness.
Dutch stage director Jetske Mijnssen and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm continue their successful collaboration at the Opernhaus Zürich with Platée, following up on Hippolyte et Aricie. This new production features Mathias Vidal, a French tenor at home in Baroque music, as Platée, and English soprano Mary Bevan in the coloratura-laden role of La Folie. American bass Evan Hughes, who audiences in Zurich have seen in in Belshazzar and Don Giovanni, plays Jupiter.
Kulturstelle contact: Ana Kitanovic email
Registration is closed.