Christophe Rousset / Isis 2019/20 1280x680 © Barrios Martinez

Content / Background

Yet again Jupiter has found an object of desire, the beautiful nymph Io. But she rejects his advances. That does not do her any good since Juno, Jupiter’s permanently and not unjustifiably jealous wife, has also got wind of her husband’s latest desire. Juno kidnapps Io and subjects her to terrible tortures: abducted by furies she almost freezes to death in the Earth’s coldest zone and nearly melts in the  hottest. When Io is washed up on Egypt’s coast she is almost dead. At last Jupiter steps in and makes his peace with Juno. Io will become the Egyptian goddess Isis. This character-heavy tragédie en musique was a flop and signalled the end of the brilliant Lully/Quinault duo: they had become too audacious, including in the libretto  an unmistakable reference to the ongoing rivalry between two of Louis XIV’s  mistresses. The king was not amused with the result and any further works by  Quinault were no longer welcome at court.