Rameau's Castor et Pollux

Pierre Audi (stage director), Christophe Rousset (conductor) — With Anna Maria Panzarella (Télaïre), Véronique Gens (Phébé), Finnur Bjarnason (Castor), Henk Neven (Pollux), Nicolas Testé (Jupiter)

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Pierre Audi — Stage director

Patrick Kinmonth — Set designer, costume designer

Jean Kalman — Lighting designer

Amir Hosseinpour — Choreographer

Anna Maria Panzarella — Télaïre, daughter of the Sun

Véronique Gens — Phébé, Princess of Sparta

Judith Van Wanroij — Cléone/Phébé’s confidante/

Finnur Bjarnason — Castor, son of Tindare and Leda

Henk Neven — Pollux, son of Jupiter and Leda

Nicolas Testé — Jupiter

Thomas Oliemans — Le Grand-Prêtre/Une autre voix

Anders J. Dahlin — Mercury

Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera

Martin Wright — Chorus Master

Les Talens Lyriques

Christophe Rousset — Conductor

Program notes

The god Pollux is betrothed to mortal Télaïre, but she loves his twin brother Castor, a mortal demigod. When Pollux learns of his fiancée’s true feelings, he is prepared to let Castor and Télaïre be together—but enemies of Sparta (helped by Télaïre’s sister Phébé, also in love with Castor) then attack, and Castor is killed. Pollux is willing to sacrifice his life to bring back his brother from Hades, but for Castor, it would be meaningless to return to life on Earth without his brother… This tragédie en musique by French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau is also an origin myth for the constellation Gemini, created thanks to the goodness and mercy of Jupiter (Zeus).

Pierre Audi’s minimalist staging for this epic legend spanning the planes of Earth, heaven, and hell might seem an unusual choice for a Baroque work whose 1737 premiere was characterized by scenic opulence. But the opera’s complicated narrative, its sumptuous and varied music, and its tragically poetic libretto constitute an intensely dramatic experience in its entirety—so a modern staging like this one may choose a more subtle visual style that allows the audience to focus more on narrative elements.

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