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Sonya Yoncheva © Kristian Schuller - Sony Music Entertainment

Cherubini Médée

From 06 July TO 16 July 2023
Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin

Cherubini : Médée

2 h 45
  • Conductor
    Oksana Lyniv
  • Director
    Andrea Breth
  • Performers
    Médée: Sonya Yoncheva
    Jason: Charles Castronovo
    Créon: David Ostrek
    Dircé: Slávka Zamecníková
    Néris: Marina Prudenskaya
Details on the Performance

She is one of the most impressive and strangely fascinating figures in Greek mythology. Medea, gifted with magical powers, who has moved from the fringes of the world to the centre of civilization, turns into an avenging angel. She is driven by the anger and betrayal which she suffered at the hands of Jason, whom she helped win the most precious treasure of the Golden Fleece, and subsequently married, but who then thanklessly deserts her. In Corinth, where Jason intends to marry the daughter of Creon, tragic events unfold. The stricken Medea inflicts her misery on the others, not even recoiling from infanticide.

In the 5th century BC, the Attic poet Euripides put this ancient myth into words and created a drama for the stage. Luigi Cherubini’s opera, premiered in Paris in 1797, draws on this play and opens up new perspectives in this classical material by means of a dramatically accentuated, enormously powerful musical language. Rarely has the figure of the Medea received such succinctness and urgency as here.

Source © Staatsoper Unter Den Linden

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin Location Unter den Linden 7 - 10117 Berlin Allemagne

When the opera house situated on the Lindenallee was inaugurated in 1742, Frederick the Great intended to turn it into the cultural symbol of his ideal capital, the hub of the "Forum Fridericianum." This "enchanted palace," as the enlightened despot called it, is one of the rare vestiges of the old city still visible today, and a large part of German musics cultural heritage is contained within its walls. The Berlin Staatskapelle, for example, the orchestra connected with the opera, was founded in 1570 and the list of its permanent conductors includes names such as those of Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, Furtwangler, Klemperer and Karajan! During the 19th century, the Berlin Opera remained a royal opera, where Weber's FREISCHUTZ was premiered. The activities of the Berlin Staatskapelle developed under Spontini's responsability, the first "Preussischer Generalmusikdirektor," ever appointed. This goes to show the importance of the ensemble in German musical life at that time, an importance which constantly grew, especially after the "Sinfonie-Soireen" were created in 1842, open to the public by subscription.

In 1919, the Royal Opera became a state opera, and played an active role in the exhuberant artistic activity that rocked Germany during the twenties: Erich Kleiber presented Berg's WOZZECK and popular harmonies of composers such as Kurt Weill resounded in this shrine of the lyrical repertoire, until Nazism cut short a period of intense creativity. During the war, Karajan forged his reputation in the theatre, until bombs destroyed the building, partially in 1941, and completely in 1945.

Because of its geographical situation, the Staatsoper became, in 1949, the Opera of East Berlin. In 1955, the East German administration reinstalled the company in its illustrious hall, rebuilt along the original plans, and one could soon applaud singers such as Peter Schreier and Theo Adam on its stage, musicians who helped create a truly Eastern German singing tradition.

Since the German reunification, the institution has been completely reorganized, especially under the impetus of Daniel Barenboim, who became its General Music Director in 1992. Proud of its impressive history, the present day Opera Unter den Linden hardly neglects its baroque beginnings, and it henceforth counts amongst those that most often produce pre-Mozartian lyrical works, such as CLEOPATRA E CESARE by Graun which opened the Opera's first season in 1742. But the house also commissions works by Pierre Boulez, while defending the traditional repertoire, in which Wagner occupies a large place. By thus juxtaposing tradition and innovation, the Opera Unter den Linden has become one of the institutions most representative of Berlin's new dynamism.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.





Médée is a French Opéra comique in three acts composed by Luigi Cherubini. Its libretto was by Franoçois-Benoît Hoffman. The Italian version of Médée' was done by Carlo Zangarini. The opera premiered on March 13, 1797 at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. However, Médée' was met with a rather lukewarm reception.

Act 1

There is an approaching wedding of Jason and Dircé, the daughter of Creonte, the King of Corinth. In a gallery inside Creonte's palace, Dircé is tormented by anxiety. She fears the potential return of sorceress Medea, who refuses to come to terms with the fact that Jason, the father of her two children, has abandoned her. Dircé is comforted by a chorus and her confidantes, Jason and her father Creonte.

Medea appears suddenly and that comes as a terrible shock to Dircé and her fiancé is forced to lead Medea away. The sorceress tries to bend to Jason's will with the hope of managing to dissuade him from his decision to get married again. However, the contrast between her and Jason leads to a bitter hatred of Medea. She summons Colchos and his darkest horrors in an attempt to prevent the wedding from taking place and to avenge Jason's refusal to hear her pleas.

Act 2

Near the temple of Juno, Medea calls upon the terrible Eumenids to shed blood and unleash terror to Creonte and Dircé. With the help of her handmaiden, Neris, Medea acquires Creonte's permission to spend one more day in Corinth. Creonte begs her to cool down, but she, accompanied by Neris, relentlessly seek vengeance that will equal the offense and suffering she has gone through.

When Medea meets Jason, she is in a remissive mood. She asks her ex-husband to let her have her two children aback. Jason is not moved and Medea feels hurt and insulted. She confirms her desire to have her revenge that she has been planning all along. She confesses to Neris, revealing her intentions to give Dircé her gown, crown and other personal effects, which are all poisoned. Medea pronounces her ill-motivated wishes for the couple during the wedding procession.

Act 3

Medea steps forward and she is dressed in a black veil. She waits for her two children to complete her mission. The children are pushed by Neris into Medea's arms. The sorceress is touched when she sees her children, but she still intends to kill them. Despite them being her children, cruel plans are driven by the fact that Jason is their father and the only way she sees Jason paying for his offense is by killing them.

Dircé is dead. Jason fears for his children and begs Medea to bring them to him. It is already too late; Medea has killed them. Jason is crushed by pain. Medea sets fire to the temple and tells Jason that she will be waiting for him on the banks of the Styx. Medea disappears among the burning remains.


Jason, Medea's husband/ Dirce's fiancé, Tenor
Medea, sorceress, Soprano
Neris, Medea's slave, Mezzo-Soprano
King Creon, King of Corinth, Bass
Dircé, Creon's daughter, Soprano

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

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