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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
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Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

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The Ghost of Alcestis

The Ghost of Alcestis

(p.96) 6 The Ghost of Alcestis
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage

Amy Wygant

Oxford University Press

In the story of Alcestis from Euripides, Alcestis volunteers to die in order to save the life of her husband King Admetus. When the hero Hercules discovers that Alcestis has died, he wrestles with Death, wins, and brings back something veiled to Admetus. But what or whom? This chapter follows the polemical texts around this question that appeared in the wake of the 1674 opera Alceste by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–87) and librettist Philippe Quinault (1635–88). It considers texts from the champion of the modernists, Charles Perrault (1628–1703) and the defender of the ancients, Jean Racine (1639–99).

Keywords:   Alcestis, Euripedes, Herucles, Charles Perrault, Jean Racine, opera, Alceste, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Philippe Quinault

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