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Libretto by Joseph Gregor (G,E,F)

Scoring

Major roles: dramcolS,lyrT,heldT,B
minor roles: 2S,A,T,Bar,2B; chorus; ballet
3(III=picc).2.corA.3.bhn.bcl.3.dbn-4.alphn.3.3.1-timp.perc:BD/cyms/
tgl/tamb/tam-t-2harp-org-strings(16.16.12.10.8)

Abbreviations (PDF)

World Premiere
15/10/1938
Sächsisches Staatstheater Opernhaus, Dresden
Conductor: Karl Böhm
Company: Dresden State Opera

Roles

PENEIOS, a fisherman Bass
GAEA, his wife Contralto
DAPHNE, their daughter Soprano
LEUKIPPOS, a shepherd Tenor
APOLLO Tenor
1st SHEPHERD Baritone
2nd SHEPHERD Tenor
3rd SHEPHERD Bass
4th SHEPHERD Bass
1st GIRL Soprano
2nd GIRL Soprano
Time and Place

Near Peneios' Hut, Antiquity

Synopsis

Shepherds are preparing for the feast of Dionysus, under instructions from Daphne's fisher-folk parents Peneios and Gaea. Daphne praises the natural world as opposed to the clumsy ways of men. The shepherd Leukippos, her childhood playmate, tries to embrace her lovingly, but she rejects both him and the coming festivities. She refuses to wear the specially-prepared clothes and runs off. Her maids persuade Leukippos to wear the clothes instead. Apollo arrives disguised as a cow-herd and is passionately drawn to Daphne, though she will not totally surrender to him. The festivities begin and the disguised Leukippos offers Daphne the libation cup arousing the jealousy of Apollo, who causes the sky to thunder. The sheep are escaping and must be rounded up again, leaving Apollo, Leukippos and Daphne alone. Leukippos reveals his true identity and demands Apollo does the same, abusing the god. With his bow, Apollo shoots Leukippos dead. Daphne reacts passionately, at last coming to terms with her Dionysiac side and acknowedging responsibility for this tragedy. Apollo begs forgiveness, asking to love her in the ennobled form of a laurel tree. He vanishes, she tries to follow, but is rooted to the ground as her transformation begins, until finally her silvery disembodied voice is heard above the shimmering leaves.

Moods

Poetic, Romantic

Subjects

Environment, Mythology, Relationships

Recommended Recording

Lucia Popp/Reiner Goldberg/Kurt Moll/Peter Schreier/Ortrun Wenkel/Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Bernard Haitink
EMI CDS7493092

Click here to purchase this CD set from Amazon

Daphne


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