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23 May—8 June 2016
Main Stage

An excellent cast including Johan Reuter, John Tomlinson, Sarah Connolly and Sophie Bevan perform The Royal Opera’s first production of Enescu’s operatic masterpiece, directed by acclaimed Catalan company La Fura dels Baus.

When to see it

The Story

Oedipe is destined to murder his father and marry his mother. His parents arrange for his murder but instead he is raised as a prince of Corinth. Discovering the prophecy, he flees Corinth – only unwittingly to kill his true father and marry his mother.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)


Romanian violinist, pianist, conductor and composer George Enescu (1881–1955) made his first orchestral sketches for Oedipe in 1910, after being powerfully moved by a stage performance of Sophocles’ Oedipus tyrannus. His librettist, the French poet Edmond Fleg, was still making changes to the text by 1921 – while Enescu would not finish the score of this, his only opera, until 1932. The premiere at the Paris Opéra on 13 March 1936 was well received but in 1937 the opera was dropped from the repertory, not performed again until 1955. It has since then enjoyed only sporadic performances – despite being acclaimed as one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century.

Catalan theatre group La Fura dels Baus (Le Grand Macabre, ENO) first staged their production of Oedipe at La Monnaie, Brussels, in 2011. True to form for this innovative theatre company, their spectacular take on Enescu’s exploration of fate and freedom creates an earthen world ravaged by both natural and man-made disaster. From this land of clay Enescu’s breathtaking score soars – encompassing everything from Berliozian opulence to eerie Sprechstimme – in this sole operatic statement from a great musician.

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