In 1662, Francesco Cavalli—onetime protégé of Monteverdi—premiered Ercole Amante (Hercules in Love) in Paris to celebrate the marriage of Louis XIV to Maria Theresa of Spain. It was a truly Baroque celebration: the opera’s grandiose mythology was matched by an accompanying allegorical conceit equating Hercules with the Sun King and the goddess Hebe with his new bride. And the monarchs, nobles and aristocrats on hand were not merely an audience—they were incorporated into the work! Louis XIV himself starred in the ballet numbers written by Lully for this sumptuous opera, unprecedented in the scope of its duration, music, machinery, scenery and costumes.
Maestro Ivor Bolton, with the world-class Nederlandse Opera Choir and Concerto Köln, highlights the work’s most striking and novel elements: powerful choral numbers, sublimely atmospheric orchestral moments, and, of course, electrifying dance sequences. David Alden brings this iconic title to the stage with arresting ostentation, navigating parody and symbolism to the glorious music of Lully and Cavalli, while the expert cast brings the immortal myth of Hercules to life.