Stratonice (opera)

"Stratonice" is a one-act "opéra comique" by Étienne Méhul to a libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman, first performed at the Théâtre Favart, Paris, on 3 May, 1792. The plot is taken from "De Dea Syria" ("On the Syrian Goddess", attributed to Lucian) concerning an incident from the history of the Seleucid dynasty which ruled much of the Middle East during the Hellenistic era of the ancient world.

The opera uses copious spoken dialogue and no sung recitative. The title character does not speak or sing until more than halfway through the opera, and has one aria in addition to group singing.

Performance history

"Stratonice" was a popular opera, receiving over 200 performances during Méhul's lifetime.

Roles (with performers at the premiere)

Brief synopsis

Antiochus, the son of King Seleucus, is pining away yet he would rather die than name the cause of his disease to his father. The doctor, Erasistratus, suspects love is behind Antiochus's suffering. He notices that the prince's pulse rate increases when he sees Stratonice, a young woman intended as his father's bride, and further tests confirm his diagnosis. The doctor subtly reveals the truth to the king who is content to relinquish Stratonice to Antiochus to save his son's life and happiness.


*"Stratonice": Petibon/Beuron/Lescroart/Daymond; Cappella Coloniensis, Corona Coloniensis, William Christie (Erato, 1996)


*Booklet notes to the above recording by M.Elizabeth C. Bartlet
*"Stratonice": introduction to the edition by M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet (Pendragon Press, 1997)

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