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Music Text

Libretto by Joseph Gregor after sketches by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (G)


Major roles: 4S,M,A,3T,Bar; minor roles: 2T,6B; men's chorus

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for all countries except Germany, Italy, Portugal, Danzig, and the former territories of the USSR.

World Premiere
Festspielhaus, Salzburg
Conductor: Clemens Krauss
Company: Salzburg Festival (final rehearsal)


JUPITER Baritone
POLLUX, King of Eos Tenor
DANAE, his daughter Soprano
XANTHE, Danae's servant Soprano
FOUR KINGS, nephews of Pollux 2 Tenors, 2 Basses
SEMELE, a queen Soprano
EUROPA, a queen Soprano
ALKMENE, a queen Mezzo Soprano
LEDA, a queen Contralto
4 WATCHMEN 4 Basses

Danae, whose father King Pollux is bankrupt and beset by creditors, dreams of a wealthy husband in terms of a shower of golden rain. Royal envoys return with news that Midas, who can turn all to gold, has agreed to woo Danae, and his arrival at the harbour is announced. Danae receives a stranger who is Midas in disguise as his own servant. Strangely drawn to each other they proceed to the harbour where the supposed King Midas (actually Jupiter in pursuit of another female conquest) greets Danae. Jupiter prepares for his marriage to Danae but, fearing discovery by his wife Juno, forces Midas to deputise for him at the ceremony. When Danae and Midas embrace, she is turned into a golden statue and Jupiter claims her as his divine bride. However her voice calls for the mortal Midas, she is returned to life, and the lovers disappear into the darkness. Jupiter announces that she will be cursed with poverty. Midas, returned to his former existence as a donkey-driver, reveals to Danae his broken pact with Jupiter, but Danae admits that it was love rather than his golden cloak that won her heart. Jupiter pays off Pollux's creditors with a shower of gold and, realising that Danae is far more than a passing amorous fancy, makes one desparate last attempt to win her back. However, she gives him a hair-clasp, her last golden possession, and the god accepts her loss with a moving farewell.


Comic, Romantic

Recommended Recording

Lauren Flanigan, Peter Coleman-Wright, Michael Hendrick, William Lewis, Lisa Saffer, Hugh Smith, Rodne Brown, James Archie Worley, William Berges, Richard Crist, Tamara Mesic, Mary Phillips, Jane Jennings, Elisabeth Canis, New York Concert Chorale, American Symphony Orchestra, Leon Botstein
Telarc CD80570

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