At the Opera - 1 June 2022: Croesus by Keiser, R.
Keiser, R - Croesus. Opera in three acts. Libretto by Lucas von Bostel. First performed Hamburg, 1730
Cast: CROESUS, King of Lydia: Roman Trekel, bass
CYRUS, King of Persia: Johannes Mannov, bass
ATIS, Lydian prince: Werner Güra, ten
ELIATES, Lydian prince: Markus Schäfer, ten
ELMIRA, Princess of Media: Dorothea Röschmann, sop
ORSANES, Lydian prince: Klaus Häger, bass
CLERIDA, Lydian princess: Salomé Haller, sop
HALIMACUS; Graham Pushee, ct
SOLON: Kwangchul Youn, bass
Hanover Boys’ Choir; RIAS Chamber Choir; Akademie für Alte Musik/René Jacobs.
Synopsis: Croesus, King of Lydia, is defeated in a war against the Persian king, Cyrus. He is about to be put to death when his son Atis, who previously was unable to speak, suddenly finds he has the power of speech and shouts at his father’s captors. Croesus is spared but taken to Cyrus who imprisons him. Atis pretends to be a captured Persian soldier who closely resembles Prince Atis but, unlike him, can speak. He assumes the name of Ermin and returns to the Lydian court bringing the news of the king’s capture. Prince Eliates sets about finding a ransom for Croesus.
Princess Elmira, who had been rescued by Croesus after her country, Media, had been conquered by Cyrus, is in love with Atis and he with her. Prince Orsanes desires Elmira, who spurns him; he is desired by Princess Clerida, but he spurns her, and Clerida is desired by Eliates, to whom she is indifferent. Orsanes, seeing a way to further his own ambitions, suggests that ‘Ermin’ should pretend to be Atis, and, through the interpreter, Halimacus, can then declare himself unfit to rule because of his speechlessness, thus ceding the throne to Orsanes. However, ‘Ermin’ must kill Atis. ‘Ermin’ agrees but, when Cyrus prepares to execute Croesus, Atis, as the son of Croesus, offers himself as an alternative victim. Cyrus is implacable. Solon, the philosopher, points out that, as Croesus' pride caused him to fall, so may Cyrus’ pride. Cyrus relents; a chastened Croesus is restored to his throne. Elmira and Atis embrace, Orsanes is discomfited, Clerida turns to Eliates and everyone rejoices.