Scylla et Glaucus

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Scylla et Glaucus is an opera ( Tragédie en musique ) in a prologue and five acts by Jean-Marie Leclair .

Leclair composed his only opera in 1746, the premiere took place on October 4th at the Académie royale de musique . This season it came to 17 performances, after which it has been documented for 1750 and 1755 revivals in Lyon .

The libretto comes from an otherwise unknown d'Albaret, who took Ovid's Metamorphoses .

In the 20th century the work was first produced again in London in 1979 by John Eliot Gardiner , who recorded it on phonograms in 1986.


  • Scylla - soprano
  • Glaucus - tenor
  • Circé - soprano
  • Témire, a dryad , Scylla's confidante - soprano
  • Dorina, a Sicilian, Circé's confidante - soprano
  • L'Amour - soprano
  • Vénus - soprano
  • Licas - baritone
  • Two propoets - tenor
  • A shepherd tenor
  • Two forest spirits - baritone
  • Hécate - baritone



The Amathusians celebrate a festival in honor of Venus. An uproar ensues when the propoetids want to overthrow the altars of the “false goddess”. Venus floats down and threatens them. She praises the king (namely Louis XV. ) And introduces her son Amor, who is to defeat the haughty Scylla in Sicily, who rejects a large number of lovers.

first act

Scylla is happy not to have to feel the agony that comes with love. Temira cannot change her mind any more than a group of shepherds and forest spirits. Glaucus enters and declares his love for her, but she rejects him and leaves. Glaucus then plans to seek help from the sorceress Circe.

Second act

Circe is worried that she is going to fall in love. Dorina warns her not to be on fire for a lover who is already taken, but she believes she can seduce even the most loyal. Glaucus comes in and asks her to awaken Scylla's love for him. With songs and dances of her servants she tries to make him forget his beloved. Glaucus is inclined to give in to flattery, but when he hears the name Scyllas, he comes to and leaves. Circe swears revenge.

Third act

Scylla reveals to Temira that she has fallen in love with Glaucus, of all people, who has withdrawn discouragedly. Glaucus appears, she makes sure of his stability and then declares her love for him. Angry, Circe descends on a cloud.

Fourth act

Circe tries again to change Glaucus' mind, but he remains steadfast. When she threatens to take her revenge on Scylla, he agrees to accompany her. In order not to reawaken Circe's hatred, he has to pretend not to see Scylla. But Glaucus can't bear to break Scylla's heart and begs Circe for mercy. She lets the two lovers go, but when she meets Dorina, her anger awakens again. She wants revenge on Scylla and summons the goddesses of the underworld. She receives a poisoned herb from Hecate, which she wants to put in the spring in which Scylla is reflected every day.

Fifth act

Scylla and Glaucus enjoy their love, but Scylla fears in a foreboding Circe's passion. Both take part in a festival of the Sicilians on the day of liberation from the Cyclops. When Glaucus remembers the fountain where he first saw Scylla, Scylla is drawn there. She looks at herself in the mirror of the water and falls unconscious to the ground. Glaucus is in despair, Scylla wakes up again and flees from Circe. But in vain: Scylla is transformed into a rock on the strait of Sicily, which, surrounded by monsters, from now on together with the whirlpool of the Charybdis forms the horror of this strait.