Titon et l'Aurore

Titon et l'Aurore (English: Tithonus and Aurora) is an opera in three acts and a prologue by the French composer Jean-Joseph de Mondonville which was first performed at the Académie royale de musique in Paris on 9 January 1753. The authorship of the libretto has been subject to debate; Mondonville's contemporaries ascribed the prologue to Antoine Houdar de la Motte and the three acts of the opera to the Abbé de La Marre. Titon et l'Aurore belongs to the genre known as the pastorale héroïque. The work played an important role in the so-called Querelle des Bouffons, a dispute over the relative merits of the French and Italian operatic traditions which dominated the intellectual life of Paris in the early 1750s. The tremendous success of Mondonville's opera at its premiere was an important victory for the French camp (although their Italian rivals claimed that this was because they had been excluded from their seats by members of the army). Titon was one of Mondonville's most popular works and went on to enjoy several revivals during his lifetime.

Titon et l'Aurore
Opera by Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville
Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (original replica) by Maurice Quentin de La Tour.jpg
Mondonville, portrayed by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, c. 1746
TranslationTithonus and Aurora
LibrettistAbbé de La Marre
9 January 1753 (1753-01-09)


Original version Voice types Premiere, Paris 1753
Titon haute-contre Pierre Jélyotte
l'Aurore soprano Marie Fel
Promethée (prologue), Eole (pastorale) basse-taille (bass-baritone) Claude-Louis-Dominique Chassé de Chinais, called Chassé
Palès soprano Marie-Jeanne Fesch, called Mlle Chevalier
L'Amour (prologue & pastorale)
A nimph from Pales's retinue
soprano Marie-Angélique Coupée (or Couppée)
A shepherd haute-contre François Poirier
Aquillon basse-taille (bass-baritone) M. Person
Borée basse-taille (bass-baritone) Nicolas Gelin
Jupiter (prologue)[1] not stated role unperformed


  • Prologue Promethée (Prometheus) has stolen fire from heaven to give life to his statues. L'Amour (Cupid) teaches them about the delights of love.
  • Act One Titon (Tithonus), a mortal shepherd, is in love with Aurore (Aurora), the goddess of the dawn. He awaits her and when she arrives the two sing of their love for each other. This arouses the jealousy of Eole (Aeolus), the god of the winds, who is in love with Aurore. Palès (Pales), the goddess of shepherds, flocks and livestock, is also in love with Titon and asks Eole to be allowed to deal with him.
  • Act Two Aurore rejects Eole's advances, saying she would rather lose her immortality than the love of Titon. Palès is also unsuccessful in her wooing of Titon and her love turns to anger.
  • Act Three Palès curses Titon with premature old age. Nevertheless Aurore remains faithful to him and L'Amour saves the day by reversing the spell.



  1. ^ The part of Jupiter appears in the libretto (prologue), but is not reported or set to music in the printed score.
  • Original libretto: Titon et l'Aurore, Pastorale Héroïque, Représentée pour la Première Fois, par l'Académie Royale de Musique, Le Mardi neuf Janvier 1753, Paris, Delormel, 1753 (accessibile gratuitamente online at Internet Archive)
  • Period printed score: Titon et l'Aurore, Pastorale Héroïque Dediée À Monseigneur le Prince de Soubise Mise en Musique par Monsieur Mondonville (Œvre VIIIe), Paris Chez l'Auteur, s.d. (accessibile for free online at Gallica - Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
  • Booklet notes to the Minkowski recording