Opera Scotland

Peleus and Thetis

Music

William Boyce (born London, September 1711; died Kensington, London, 7 February 1779).

Text

George Granville, Lord Lansdowne.

Source

Classical legend.

 

 

Premieres

First Performance: London c 1736.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (St Andrew's & St George's); 16 August 1988.

 

Background

Peleus and Thetis is Boyce's first work for the stage, and little is known about its origins. Lord Lansdowne wrote the text of the masque in 1701, for insertion in The Jew of Venice, his rewriting of Shakespeare's Merchant. The classical legend of Prometheus is used, he being chained by the gods to a rock in perpetuity, having his entrails pecked at by a vulture, in punishment for providing mankind with fire.

 

Characters

Peleus, a mortal (tenor)

Thetis, a nymph (soprano)

Prometheus (Counter-tenor)

Jupiter (bass)

Prologue (Actor)

 

Plot Summary

Peleus and Thetis are in love, but any relationship between them has been banned by the Gods. Jupiter himself lusts after Thetis. The unhappy couple defy him and visit the prophet Prometheus to get a forecast from him of their future.

The Cast

Jupiter
 
Peleus
 a mortal
Prologue
 
Prometheus
 
Thetis
 a nymph

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