Premiere of Prométhée

Prométhée (Prometheus) is a tragédie lyrique (grand cantata) in three acts by the French composer Gabriel Fauré with a French libretto by the Symboliste poets Jean Lorrain and André-Ferdinand Hérold (1865-1940). It was partly based on the opening of the Greek tragedy of Prometheus Bound. The first performance at Arènes de Béziers on 27 August 1900 involved almost 800 performers (including two wind bands and 15 harps) and was watched by an audience of 10,000. Between 1914 and 1916, Jean Roger-Ducasse reworked the score for a reduced orchestra. This version (which was later revised by Fauré) made its debut at the Paris Opéra on 17 May 1917 but never became popular.

Designated as a tragédie lyrique, the work resists easy categorisation. It was intended to be on a large-scale with spoken and musical sections. Warrack and West call it a grand cantata, arguing that since "only some of the characters participate in the stage action it is scarcely an opera, though Fauré's conception of the work is at times more operatic than merely choral ... [and] the clearest example to date of Wagner's influence on his music."[1]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 27 August 1900
Conductor: Charles Eustace
Prométhée (Prometheus) spoken role Édouard de Max [fr]
Pandore (Pandora) spoken role Cora Laparcerie
Hermès (Hermes) spoken role Odette de Fehl
Aenoë soprano Torrês
Bia soprano Caroline Fiérens-Peters
Gaïa mezzo-soprano Rosa Feldy
Andros tenor Charles Rousselière
Kratos tenor Fonteix
Hephaïstos (Hephaestus) bass Jean Vallier
Other Languages
español: Prométhée
italiano: Prométhée
português: Promethée
svenska: Prométhée