Bacchus by Jules Massenet

Summary

'''''Bacchus''''' is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Catulle Mendès after Greek mythology. It was first performed at the Palais Garnier in Paris on 5 May 1909.

The story is based on the mythology surrounding Bacchus and Ariadne (Ariane). The Gods, among them demi-god Bacchus, appear in human form in ancient India to attempt to persuade the people away from the pervading Buddhist influence. Ariane has followed them, convinced that Bacchus is in fact Theseus, her unrequited love. In the end, Ariane sacrifices herself to save humanity and in doing so, Bacchus becomes a God.

Although not a proper sequel, as Ariane dies in both pieces, ''Bacchus'' is a companion to Massenet's earlier opera, ''Ariane''. Of Massenet's twenty-five operas, ''Bacchus'' is probably the least known, without a modern performance history or single modern recording of even an excerpt.

The story of this opera is also related to that of ''Ariadne auf Naxos'' from Richard Strauss.

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