Bacchus (opera)

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Opera by Jules Massenet
Jules Massenet from Musical Memories by Saint-Saëns.jpg
The composer
LibrettistCatulle Mendès
Based onBacchus and Ariadne
5 May 1909 (1909-05-05)

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.


Lucy Arbell in the role of Queen Amahelli at the Théâtre de l'Opéra (Palais Garnier), during the creation of Bacchus in 1909. Photograph by Paul Nadar.
Role Voice type Premiere Cast[1]
Conductor: Henri Rabaud
Bacchus tenor Lucien Muratore
Ariane soprano Lucienne Bréval
Queen Amahelli mezzo-soprano Lucy Arbell
Révérend Ramavacon bass André Gresse
Kéléyi soprano Antoinette Laute-Brun
Silène baritone Marcelin Duclos
Mahouda baritone Triadou
Pourna tenor Nansen
Ananda baritone Cerdan
Manthra, a mime mute Blanche Kerval
Clotho spoken role Brille
Perséphone spoken role Renée Parny
Andéros spoken role de Max
Chorus: Followers of Perséphone, Nuns, Monks, Warriors, Priests, Bassarides, Fauns, Bacchantes, Heavenly voices.


  1. ^ Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Bacchus, 5 May 1909". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).

External links[edit]

  • "Bacchus at Bob's Universe". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2008-10-06.