Reinound van Mechelen © Senne Van der Ven

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The premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau's fifth tragedy, Zoroastre, received a rather lukewarm reception from Parisian society in 1749, although reports suggest that the show as such was again spectacular. Rameau and his librettist Louis de Cahusac decided to revise the opera, and in 1756 the tragédie en musique was a resounding success. Good and evil are set against each other with an unambiguity seldom seen on an opera stage. Zoroastre and Abramane fight not only for the throne of Bactria and therefore the hand of the beautiful Amélite, but also for the supremacy of the powers they represent. Rameau's music expertly reflects the dualism inherent in the libretto, and with it he created a veritable musical extravaganza.