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Introduction

After the destruction of Troy, the Trojan warrior Énée sets out on a journey to found a new dynasty. He meets Didon, Queen of Carthage, and falls in love. But will Énée's love for Didon prove stronger than his sense of duty?

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Background

Les Troyens is a tour de force of music that ranges from fiery military marches to intense choruses, passionate soliloquies – such as those of the prophetess Cassandre – and the lyrical love duets of Didon and Énée. It is Hector Berlioz's largest work and he wrote the libretto himself, drawing upon his intimate knowledge of Virgil's Aeneid. To the composer's disappointment, Les Troyens was only performed once in full during his lifetime. It was often presented in shortened form during the 20th century. The Royal Opera's production provides a rare chance to see this epic work in its entirety.

David McVicar's staging is on an enormous scale, assembling one of the largest casts ever seen at Covent Garden. The sweeping theme of the rise and fall of empires runs throughout Les Troyens, along with moving meditations on love and honour.