Opera On 3 - Rameau's Castor And Pollux



Here's something: a love square. Two sides are made from Castor and Pollux, twin progeny of Jupiter, one divine one mortal. The term 'brotherly love' might have been coined for them. The other two sides, a pair of sisters: Telaïre and Phoebe.

Both Castor and Pollux love Telaïre; Phoebe loves Pollux but the sentiment is not reciprocated. Telaïre loves Castor better than Pollux and when Castor is killed in battle she asks the surviving sibling to get Jupiter to bring him back to life. Thinking that his brother's happiness is more important than his own, Pollux sets about helping out. But nothing's simple and terms and conditions apply: Jupiter has decreed that Pollux must exchange his immortality for Castor's mortality. And it gets worse. As Pollux enters the Underworld to reclaim Castor, he not only has to endure the all the horrors the nether regions have to throw at him, but he also has to put up with Phoebe and her endless jealousy.

All's well that ends well - if not for everybody. Jupiter decides to make both brothers immortal and sends them up to the heavens to become the Gemini (what else?) constellation. Phoebe has killed herself; Telaïre is left on earth, bereft. It's a happy ending, Greek myth-style.

Although Rameau is one of the great dramatic composers the baroque era and 'Castor and Pollux' is widely regarded as his masterpiece, this is the first time any Rameau opera has been staged at ENO. A cast including some of the UK's finest young singers is conducted by period instrument specialist Christian Curnyn in this new production by Barry Kosky, translated by Amanda Holden.

Presented by Donald Macleod in conversation with Simon Heighes

Castor....Allan Clayton (tenor)

Pollux....Roderick Williams (baritone)

Telaïre....Sophie Bevan (soprano)

Phoebe....Laura Tatulescu (soprano)

Jupiter....Henry Waddington (bass)

High Priest of Jupiter....Andrew Rupp (baritone)

Mercury/Athlete....Ed Lyon (tenor)

English National Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Conductor....Christian Curnyn.

Christian Curnyn conducts the ENO Orchestra and Chorus in Rameau's Castor and Pollux.