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Cavalli: Ercole Amante

Sat. 23rd and Sun. 24th of November 2019
3h30 with intermission


Nahuel di Pierro Ercole
Anna Bonitatibus Giunone
Giuseppina Bridelli Dejanira
Francesca Aspromonte Iole
Krystian Adam Hyllo
Eugénie Lefebvre Pasithea Clerica, Terza Grazia, Secondo Pianeta
Giulia Semenzato Venere, Bellezza, Cinthia (prologo)
Luca Tittoto Nettuno, Eutyro
Ray Chenez Il Paggio
Dominique Visse Licco
Marie Planinsek* Prima Grazia
Perrine Devillers* Seconda Grazia, Primo Pianeta
Corinne Bahuaud* Terzo Pianeta
Olivier Coiffet* Prima Aura
Renaud Bres* Seconda Aura, un Sacrificatore
Nicolas Brooymans* Ruscello, Busiride, un Sacrificatore

*members of the Choir Pygmalion

Anna Beghelli, Rémi Boissy, Leslie Dzierla, Mikaël Fau, Florence Peyrard Dancers

Pygmalion Choir and orchestra
Raphaël Pichon Musical conductor
Valérie Lesort, Christian Hecq (sociétaire de la Comédie Française) Director
Laurent Peduzzi Stage sets
Vanessa Sannino Costumes and machines
Christian Pinaud Lights
Rémi Boissy Collaboration to movements
Carole Allemand, Sophie Coeffic, Valérie Lesort Puppet creation
Olivier Podesta Director assistant
Maité Vauchin Scenography assistant
Peggy Sturm Costumes assistant



Louis XIV’s wedding in 1660 was the occasion for many celebrations everywhere in the kingdom. Mazarin wanted to mark this major event, which also symbolised the return of peace. He asked Cavalli, the most famous Italian opera composer of the time, to create a magnificent opera where the young king could be identified an antique hero, while exalting his amorous virtues.

Cavalli came to France in 1660, composed Ercole AmanteHercules in love – but had to wait until 1662 to see it first performed. It is an extraordinary work: an Italian opera with a large orchestra in the French style, and ballets, which the court enjoyed, and in which the King performed. Hercules in love with pretty Iola, is Deianira’s husband. Iola is also loved by their son Hyllus. Who will win, Venus who favours love or Juno who protects marriage? Hercules in love or strength allied to attraction, there couldn’t be a more flattering subject to celebrate the marriage of young Louis XIV with the Spanish Infanta – between his harrowing separation from Marie Mancini in 1659, and his blossoming love for Madame de La Vallière from 1661…

The work mingles mythology, human passions and natural and cosmic phenomena. At the same time a court ballet, a composition with theatre machinery and a baroque multifaceted opera, it inspired the young ballet master Lully… Valérie Lesort and Christian Hecq bring freshness and fantasy to baroque art in response to the enchantments that 18th century audiences enjoyed so much. And Raphael Pichon will deploy the beauty of this extremely rare work with an ideal cast.

Coproduction: Opéra Comique, Royal Opera / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Opéra National de Bordeaux.

Show in Italian with surtitles in French and English


Francesco Cavalli (1602–1676)
Ercole Amante

Opera with a prologue and five acts on a libretto by Francesco Buti, created in 1662 in Paris.

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Photo gallery

Bellezza, Giulia Semanzato / Ercole, Nahuel Di Pierro © Stefan Brion

Ercole, Nahuel Di Pierro © Stefan Brion

Venere, Giulia Semanzato / Ercole, Nahuel Di Pierro © Stefan Brion

Cinzia, Giulia Semanzato / choeur Pygmalion © Stefan Brion

Il Paggio, Ray Chenez / Licco, Dominique Visse © Stefan Brion

Pasitea, Eugénie Lefebvre / Giunone, Anna Bonitatibus © Stefan Brion

Venere, Giulia Semanzato © Stefan Brion

Iole, Francesca Aspromonte / Ercole, Nahuel Di Pierro / Deianira, Giuseppina Bridelli / Illo, Krystian Adam © Stefan Brion

Deianira, Giuseppina Bridelli / Illo, Krystian Adam © Stefan Brion

Nettuno, Luca Tittoto / Illo, Krystian Adam © Stefan Brion


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Video: Extracts from Ercole Amante

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