Platée 2020/21 1280x680 © Hermine Karigl-Wagenhofer

Synopsis

Jupiter, supreme among the gods and most unfaithful of all husbands, intends to cure his wife Juno of her jealousy once and for all – so that afterwards he can pursue his extramarital interests without her interference. Currently, though, he has no such amorous adventure in the pipeline. Despite this, Juno is still filled with suspicion and anger towards her husband and destroys the world with terrible storms. She has already ruined the entire harvest and a global famine looms. The situation cannot be allowed to continue and gives Jupiter another reason to put a stop to his wife’s fury. On his instructions, Mercure and his friend Cithéron devise a perfidious scheme to cure Juno and save humanity from its plight. For some time now, Cithéron has been pestered by Platée, an ugly marsh nymph. She is besotted with him and absolutely convinced that no man can resist her grace and beauty. She cannot understand Cithéron’s rejection of her. He now sees an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, namely to pacify Juno and get rid of Platée. The conceited marsh nymph is led to believe that Jupiter has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her. The father of the gods, who is in on the plan, plays his part in accordance with mythological tradition: he woos Platée in the form of a cloud, serenades her with tender love songs as a donkey and an owl, and finally overwhelms her with his Olympic splendour. Platée is ecstatic to be honoured in this way and enthusiastically falls for Jupiter’s deceitful advances. A magnificent wedding with much dancing, a huge buffet and illustrious guests is arranged. In the meantime, Mercure and Cithéron have discreetly let Juno know about her husband’s alleged new affair. Just before the mock wedding she bursts in on the ceremony and furiously tears the veil from the face of the supposed bride. But at the sight of Platée’s ugliness Juno cannot help laughing at her own blind jealousy, and she patches up her differences with Jupiter. Fine weather returns to Earth at last and Cithéron and Jupiter are being left in peace. Only Platée remains sitting lonely and humiliated in her marsh as all the gods return to Olympus.