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Medea is a German-language opera by Aribert Reimann after the play by Franz Grillparzer. It was premiered at the Vienna State Opera in February 2010. The German premiere was at the Oper Frankfurt in August 2010.

Opera by Aribert Reimann
Aribert Reimann.jpg
The composer in 2010
Based onMedea
by Franz Grillparzer
28 February 2010 (28 February 2010)


Aribert Reimann had already written seven literary operas, including Melusine, Lear and Troades, when he received a commission from the Vienna State Opera to write an opera for the conclusion of the era of Ioan Holender as General Director of the opera house. He chose the play Medea by Franz Grillparzer as a basis for the work,[1] the last part of Grillparzer's trilogy Das goldene Vließ [de] (The Golden Fleece) which is focused on Greek mythology, especially Medea.[1][2]

The opera was successfully premiered at the Vienna State Opera in February 2010,[1] staged by Marco Arturo Marelli, conducted by Michael Boder, with Marlis Petersen in the title role.[1] The German premiere was at the Oper Frankfurt in August 2010.[3]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 28 February 2010
Conductor: Michael Boder[1][4]
Medea coloratura soprano Marlis Petersen
Kreusa mezzo-soprano Michaela Selinger
Gora contralto Elisabeth Kulman
Kreon tenor Michael Roider
Jason baritone Adrian Eröd
The Herold countertenor Max Emanuel Cenčić


Grillparzer showed Medea as a foreigner without protection who becomes the victim of powerful men, a view of the tragedy appealing to Reimann.[5] In a performance at the Komische Oper Berlin, staged by Benedict Andrews with Nicole Chevalier in the title role, Medea is shown as a barbarian woman, a stranger to the society and therefore expelled.[6]

A reviewer of the premiere notes that the vocal lines are highly ornamented, full of melisma, and with sharply jagged contours ("wild gezackt, scharf geschnitten"), demanding virtuosity from the singers. The metre changes without rest, also in the orchestra. The strings are divided multiple times, while the winds often have solo function. The vocal style was described as highly artificial ("hochartifiziell").[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Büning, Eleonore (1 March 2010). "Oper: "Medea" in Wien. Eine antike Brünnhilde" [Opera: 'Medea' in Vienna. An ancient Brünnhilde]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Clements, Andrew (26 May 2011). "Medea – review Barainsky/Baumgartner/Nagy/Baba/Frankfurt Opera/Nielsen (Oehms, two CDs)". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  3. ^ Carlà, Filippo; Berti, Irene (2016). Ancient Magic and the Supernatural in the Modern Visual and Performing Arts. ISBN 1350007943. Reimann's work, following Franz Grillparzer's Medea (1820), the primary source for the libretto, can safely be ascribed to the second type. Reimann's social and political interpretation of Medea's magical abilities allows him to reflect on the violence of the power that fears and distrusts – but at the same time needs – the unknown, the foreigner.
  4. ^ "Medea". Schott Music. 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2019. Uraufführung: 28. Februar 2010 Wien, Staatsoper (A)
  5. ^ "Aribert Reimann / Medea". Komische Oper Berlin. 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  6. ^ Ossowski, Maria (22 May 2011). ""Medea" an der Komischen Oper – "Erarmt bin ich an Macht"" [Reviews: "Medea" at the Komische Oper – "I am in power"]. (in German). Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. ^ Whittall, Arnold (2010). "Reimann Medea / Reimann's take on a bloodthirsty tale, filmed during its Vienna premiere run". Gramophone. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  8. ^ OCLC 867911287
  9. ^ OCLC 871957922

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