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Teatro Regio, Sunday 5 October 2008 - Wednesday 22 October 2008
The action takes place in Corinth, in Creon’s palace
Glauce, the daughter of Creon, King of Corinth, is about to marry Jason, the hero who recovered the Golden Fleece, but she is worried because she fears the sorceress Medea’s vengeance. Medea betrayed her people to help Jason win the Golden Fleece, had two children by him and has now been repudiated.
Creon reassures Jason: his two children will be protected and will not pay for the faults of their mother. The Argonauts arrive to pay homage to the betrothed, laying at Glauce’s feet the Golden Fleece won at Colchis; when she hears Medea’s country named, Glauce is again troubled. Jason tries to reassure her, but a guard announces that a veiled woman has gained entrance: it is Medea, who wants Jason to return to her; at his refusal, the sorceress threatens to take revenge. Left alone with Jason, she reminds him of their happy times together, but he wants nothing to do with her. Medea warns him: “Giammai per te verrà il dì nuzial” [Your wedding day will never come].
Neris, Medea’s maidservant, tries in vain to console Medea and convince her to leave Corinth to escape the people’s anger.
Creon and his retinue order Medea to leave the city, and she complies, requesting only a day to take leave of her children, which the king grants her. Neris consoles Medea, but the sorceress has already made up her mind: her children will be her means of revenge, and the grief of the traitor Jason will be boundless. When the hero arrives, Medea pretends to be saddened by the separation from her children. She then orders Neris to take to Glauce her wedding gift: the diadem and mantle given to her by Apollo. While the king and his court go into the temple, Medea continues to consider her revenge, and when the ceremony has concluded, she seizes a torch from the alter and leaves.
In a mountainous area, Medea is praying to the Gods for the courage to carry out her terrible revenge: Neris, after having delivered the sorceress’s gift to Glauce, returns with the two children.
Medea raises the dagger to kill them but isn’t able to go through with it. She then reveals her design to Neris: the diadem and mantle are poisoned and Glauce will die. Shaken, Neris flees to the temple with the children. Glauce dies as a result of the sorceress’s gifts, and Jason, desperate, wants to arrest Medea. She runs into the temple, emerging flanked by the three Furies and brandishing the blood-stained dagger with which she has killed her two children. The temple bursts into flame.
To the devastated Jason, Medea promises: “Al sacro fiume io vo’! Colà t’aspetta l’ombra mia!” [I am going to the sacred river! My shadow will await you there!].