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Alceste tells Ismene of her intentions. Meanwhile, Admeto has a miraculous recovery to the joy of all Thessaly. Evandro tells him that someone has apparently sacrificed himself for the king. When Alceste appears, he questions her until she confesses. The desperate king hurries into the temple to plead with the gods. However, Alceste says good-bye to the children. The decision of the gods is not revoked. The people lament the approaching death of Alceste. Having said good-bye to Alceste, Admeto decides to follow her into death.
Then the heavens open, Apollo descends and proclaims that the gods have given them their lives as a reward for their steadfast love. The overture is stately, noble, and tragic, looking ahead to some of Mozart's minor-key works. The choir propels much of the action in the first two acts, and Gluck's vocal settings are particularly elegant, taking advantage of the French language's smooth rhythms, although the writing is rather static in its sad dignity.
King Admetus is dying, and his people are in despair. The god Apollo refuses their animal sacrifice, proclaiming that Admetus will live only if another person is sacrificed in his place. Queen Alceste believes she is the victim Apollo has in mind, but declares she will surrender her life only for love.
The people celebrate the king's recovery. Admetus does not realize that Alceste has volunteered to die in his place, and his wife won't give herself up until the record is set straight. When he learns the truth, Admetus believes that Alceste is in effect abandoning him, and would prefer to die himself.
The people, sorrowing again, prepare the royal couple's children for sacrifice in their place. Admetus' friend Hercules arrives and promises to conquer death on his behalf, and travels to Hades.
Meanwhile, Alceste has already arrived at the gates of hell; Admetus tries to dissuade her, but she is sacrificing herself for love, rather than as some heroic act. She dies, but Hercules rescues her—except that now Alceste seems nearly insane. Apollo arrives, promises Hercules immortality, and leaves Admetus and Alceste in a world that seems devoid of death.
The work ends with a joyful chorus. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christoph Willibald Gluck Operas. For Millico, Gluck's favourite singer and intimate friend, the composer had already transposed up the originally contralto role of Orfeo in the first Italian performance of Orfeo ed Euridice , at Parma in cf.: Le feste d'Apollo and Orfeo ed Euridice Revised versions.
In , while travelling through Paris, he was also called upon to perform in private the French version of Orphée et Eurydice with Gluck himself at the harpsichord before it was premiered at the Opéra Patricia Howard ed. Alceste 8 May on operatoday. Alceste Admeto Alceste Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history.
In other projects Wikimedia Commons. In the midth century the writer Charles-Simon Favart brought a higher literary level to the opéra-comique texts, and newly composed songs began to be added, eventually replacing the popular vaudevilles.
Plots began to centre on characters from everyday life. He himself composed an early example of opéra-comique, Le Devin du village ; The Village Soothsayer.
Christoph Willibald Gluck , writing for audiences in Vienna that favoured the French genre , was the only great composer of that era to devote himself extensively to it. The opéras-comiques of this period were characterized by social comment, light plots of romance or intrigue, and tuneful music.
The tradition continued in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the work of André Grétry, François Boieldieu, and Daniel Auber, who treated more serious and romantic subjects and made a more evocative use of the orchestra. Toward the opéra-comique developed into serious music drama approximating grand opera and gradually lost its satiric character. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.
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Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The entertainment soon came to veer either toward comédie vaudeville , mostly made up of bawdy satire or simply songs of disparaging social comment,…. Opera contributions by Donizetti In Gaetano Donizetti: Gluck In Christoph Willibald Gluck: France, — theatrical music In theatre music: Help us improve this article!