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Jealousy - the poison of love

Love, jealousy and a murder against one's will are the ingredients of a decidedly dramatic oratorio by George Frideric Handel. After Semele, Barrie Kosky stages Handel's story about the deadly power of jealousy as a parable of human weakness.


At the centre of the action is not the title hero Hercules, but his wife Dejanira.
Waiting for her beloved Hercules to return from his conquests has driven her almost mad. When he finally returns, Dejanira cannot believe that her husband has brought Iole, the daughter of the defeated king, to their home court without any ulterior motives.

Dejanira's jealousy is groundless, but she tries to win back her husband's love - which she has never lost! - with a gift. The precious robe, however, which a centaur has foisted on her, is poisoned and Hercules suffers an agonising death. Dejanira and Hercules' son Hyllus, on the other hand, finds great happiness in his love for Iole.

The planned premiere of Hercules in the spring of 1745 was ill-starred. Handel quickly wrote several arias for a suddenly available star alto, but she dropped out at the premiere due to illness. After the colleague standing in for the recitatives was also hoarse, no one was able to follow the tragic story. The premiere was a flop.

It was not until the 19th century that the dramatic power of the work was rediscovered for the stage.

With Hercules, director Barrie Kosky dedicates himself to another of Handel's oratorios that are rarely staged in this country.

In his production, which grows entirely out of the magnificent music, he makes the work sparkle in all its equally grandiose and deeply human facets.

Mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy as Dejanira will not only melt the hearts of Greek heroines.


  • Language: English



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Additional information
Antonín Dvořák
Lyrisches Märchen in drei Akten (1901)
Participating artists
David Bates (Musikalische Leitung)
David Cavelius (Chöre)
Joachim Klein (Licht)
Barrie Kosky (Inszenierung)
Tobias Ribitzki (Szenische Einstudierung)
Katrin Lea Tag (Bühnenbild und Kostüme)
Johanna Wall (Dramaturgie)
Brandon Cedel (Hercules)
Paula Murrihy (Dejanira)
Penny Sofroniadou (Iole)
Caspar Singh (Hyllus)
Susan Zarrabi (Lichas)
Noam Heinz (Priester des Jupiter)
Chorsolisten der Komischen Oper Berlin (Chor)