La Calisto

Synopsis

Sunday, 16 September 2012
7 pm

  1. 16.09.2012
  2. 7:00 p.m.

At the premiere of La Calisto at the Teatro San Apollinare in Venice during the 1651 season, Cavalli himself played the harpsichord and new stage machinery was constructed especially. The pressure on this pupil of Monteverdi was considerable since Cavalli was also an independent impresario: he had rented the little theatre in Venice to stage his own works. But La Calisto was a failure and was not performed again for more than 300 years. It was not until 1970 that Raymond Leppard rediscovered the opera at the Glyndebourne Festival. In 2003 it was conducted by René Jacobs during the Wiener Festwochen at the Theater an der Wien. Now Christophe Rousset takes up the drama about nymphs with his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques. Jupiter, king of the gods, takes the form of Diana to seduce the nymph Calisto who, as a companion of the goddess of hunting, has vowed to remain a virgin.
Jupiter’s wife Juno turns the nymph into a bear as an act of revenge. Since the story is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses Jupiter also promises Calisto that he will take her up to heaven: transformed into the constellation Ursa Major, Calisto can be seen in the night’s sky for all eternity as a symbol of her love for the fickle king of the gods.