The Influence of Ovid in Opera

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Even during the formative period, Ovid's poetry provided the subject matter for a number of high-profile Renaissance court performances combining ancient mythological narratives, drama, and music. As the narrative center of most Florentine operas following the Ottavio Rinuccini/Jacopo Peri Dafne and Euridice, Ovidian subjects were used throughout Europe as the genre spread during the seventeenth century. Several stories derived primarily from the Metamorphoses predominated-Orpheus and Eurydice, Perseus and Andromeda, Venus and Adonis, Pyramus and Thisbe, and the rape of Persephone. However, Ariadne's lament from Heroides 10 and passages from both the Fasti and Ars Amatoria were reworked as well. The most important series of Ovidian-inspired works were the tragédies en musique by Philippe Quinault and Jean-Baptist Lully: Cadmus et Hermione, Atys, Isis, Proserpine, Persée, and Phaëthon. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century opera librettos only occasionally employed Ovidian subjects, but the twentieth century fostered a renaissance populated by disparate experimental works.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Handbook to the Reception of Ovid
EditorsJohn F. Miller, Carole E. Newlands
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781118876169
ISBN (Print)9781444339673
StatePublished - Oct 31 2014


  • Henze
  • Houdar de la Motte
  • Libretto
  • Opera
  • Orfeo
  • Ovid
  • Perrin
  • Poliziano
  • Quinault
  • Rinuccini

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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