La Monnaie ¦ Opera ¦ Daphne ¦ Intro
In this Daphne – the ‘bucolic tragedy’ about the beautiful Daphne, who is loved both by the simple shepherd Leukippos and the god Apollo – director Guy Joosten sets the world of an ecologically-inspired ‘hipster’ on the fringes of the mainstream against a hard economic reality. Apollo kills his rival and leaves Daphne inconsolable, after which he immortalises her in the form of a laurel tree. Daphne’s sad story, as described by Ovid and given shape to by Bernini and Chassériau in the plastic arts, inspired Richard Strauss to write his thirteenth opera, which quite possibly contains his finest music. ‘ The metamorphosis of Daphne is set in a total union with the music, whereby the words become superfluous and Daphne becomes just a voice that resounds out of the moonlit treetop’ – this is how the librettist Joseph Gregor characterised the ultimate moment in the opera.
© Chantal Anderson