|Douglas Williams (left) and Edwin Crossley-Mercer (right)|
Fortunately, the opera gods are looking over us, as the duo will reprise their performance at the Grandes Eaux Musicales at the Châteua de Versailles on December 10th with Les Talens Lyriques.
The opera was originally presented in celebration of King Louis XIV’s victory against Franche-Comté, and the prologue features nymphs longing for his return from battle.
The opera concerns Alceste, princess of Iolcos and queen of Thessaly, who is abducted by Licomède, king of Scyros, with the aid of his sister Thetis, a sea nymph; Aeolus, the god of the winds; and other supernatural forces. In the battle to rescue her, Alcide is triumphant, but Alceste’s husband, Admète, suffers a mortal wound. Apollo agrees to let Admète live if someone will take his place in death. Alceste volunteers herself but is rescued by Alcide, who loves her.
The opera ends with a celebration of Alceste’s return from the underworld and of Alcide’s noble gallantry in returning her to her husband and relinquishing any claims to her.