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Music Text

Libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello, with German translation by Richard Bletschacher (I,G)


2S,2S(orM),2M,CT,T,5Bar,5B; chorus; ballet
3recorders(III ad lib).2.2.corA.2-,theorbo,lute,
harp,2hpd)-strings (variable scoring)

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



HYPNOS, god of sleep Bass
MORPHEUS, god of human dreams Tenor
ITATHON, god of animal dreams Mezzo Soprano
PANTHEUS, god of inanimate dreams Baritone
JUPITER, father of the gods Baritone
VENUS, goddess of love and beauty Mezzo Soprano
AMOR, son of Venus, god of love Soprano
APOLLO, god of the sun and singing Countertenor
AURORA, god of the rising sun Soprano (or Mezzo)
TITHONOS, husband of Aurora, a half-god Tenor
PAN, god of shepherds and herdsfolk Tenor
PENEIOS, a river god, father of Daphne Bass Baritone
DAPHNE, a nymph, daughter of Peneios Soprano (or Mezzo)
PHILENE, a nymph, an older friend of Daphne Soprano
KEPHALOS, beloved of Aurora Tenor
PROKRIS, abandoned lover of Kephalos Mezzo Soprano
CIRILLA, a little old woman Tenor
ALFESIBEO, a learned dream reader Bass
nymphs and shepherds Chorus
Muses Chorus
Time and Place

Greece, Ancient times


Aurora, the goddess of dawn, leaves her impotent husband Tithonus to drive Apollo’s chariot. She meets Cephalus, who has abandoned his wife Procris for Aurora. He is jealous of Tithonus, but she reassures him of her love, though she cannot stay with him. Venus sends her son Cupid to punish Apollo, who has offended her. In the forest the nymph Daphne rejoices in her freedom: she wants nothing to do with love. Her friend Philena warns her that life without love is worthless. Apollo, hunting in Thessaly, sees Daphne. Cupid fires an arrow at him, causing him to fall in love with her. Despite Philena’s entreaties she rejects him and begs her father Peneios to save her, but the best he can do is to turn her into a laurel tree. Apollo is heartbroken, but the forest god Pan consoles him by telling him that when he was rejected by Syrinx he made her into a pipe so that he could kiss her whenever he wanted.


Poetic, Romantic

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