While Christoph Willibald Gluck was preparing for the first performance of his Iphigénie en Tauride in Paris in early 1779, his librettist Ranieri de’Calzabigi suggested the story of Hypermnestra, well known at the time, as the basis of a new opera. Following his stroke and return to Vienna, Gluck did not want to compose Les Danaïdes himself, instead handing the task to his friend, Antonio Salieri. Salieri then set the tale of the Danaids to music: Hypermnestra is the oldest of the fifty daughters of King Danaus who are intended as the brides of the fifty sons of his brother Aegyptus. The twins Danaus and Aegyptus quarrel over their father’s inheritance and Danaus commands his daughters to kill all of Aegyptus’ sons on their wedding night. Hypermnestra is the only who spares the life of her husband, Lynceus, and helps him to escape. The Danaids were a subject that required a great deal of work and the Paris opera was willing to give the commission only to the famous Gluck. It is for this reason that the phrase was introduced that said Salieri composed the work “under the guidance of Gluck”. The first performance was a success and Salieri was judged worthy of associating himself with the great Gluck.