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Music Text

Libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman (F)


2S,M,T,BBar; small roles:2S,1spoken role; silent roles; mixed chorus;
2(I=picc).2.2.2-4.0.1(+1 opt trb).0-timp-strings; wind instruments from orchestra and thunder machine off-stage

Abbreviations (PDF)


Anton J. Benjamin / Simrock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Théâtre Feydeau, Paris
Company: Julie-Angélique Scio (Médée) / Pierre Gaveaux (Jason)

World premiere of version
Theater an der Wien, Wien
Torsten Fischer, director
Conductor: Fabio Luisi
Company: Iano Tamar / Zoran Todorovich / Arnold Schoenberg Chor / Wiener Symphoniker

Time and Place

La scène est à Corinthe dans le palais de Créon.

Repertoire Note

The commanding role of Medea provokes both sympathy and dismay; Cherubini’s music draws us into her inner struggle, the dramatic shift from love to devastating hatred. Rather than focussing on the plot itself, however, the opera explores the psychological processes experienced by the characters. With its stylistic diversity, its dark grandeur and sublimity as well as its grand, self-contained musical scenes, Médée points far beyond the operas of Cherubini’s contemporaries. Hence the acclaim for the work expressed by Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner and Brahms does not come as a surprise; indeed, Brahms went so far as to praise Médée as the “highest dramatic art”.



Recommended Recording

Michael, Streit, Stotijn, Le Texier, Van Kerckhove / Les Talens Lyriques & Chœurs de la Monnaie / Christophe Rousset (Brussels 2011, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski)
Bel Air Classiques DVD & Blue-Ray


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