A rich musical mosaic which highlights the striking nature of the opera

Opera, cantata or oratorio? Oedipus Rex is a ceremony like no other. Written in secret and presented to Sergei Diaghilev to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ballets Russes, it received its first performance in concert version in Paris in 1927. Diaghilev himself expressed gratitude for the "very macabre gift", which is based on Jean Cocteau's adaptation of the tragedy by Sophocles. The libretto of this powerfully dramatic work was translated into Latin to avoid vulgarization.

The leading character, Oedipus, here played by Michael Spyres, is permanently on stage. He discovers, following a maelstrom of calamitous events, that he has killed his own father and flees from Thebes after putting his eyes out with a pin. The concert will begin with the suite from Richard Strauss's opera Elektra.

In view of the prominent role the orchestra plays in the opera, it seems surprising that no one before Honeck, the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, should have turned the music into a suite. The result is a rich musical mosaic which highlights the striking nature of the opera.

The refined reworking of the textures undertaken by Josep Pons is bound to recall the acclaim he received when he conducted Patrice Chéreau's production starring Herlitzius, Meier and Pieczonka in the Liceu's 2016-17 season.

PARADISE: the creation of a new sound world in history 

Approximate running time 2h

  • First part 30m
  • Interval 30m
  • Second part 50m

Artistic profile

Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Pablo Assante, director)
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Josep Pons


OedipeMichael Spyres
JocasteEkaterina Gubanova
Creon / Messenger José Antonio López
TirésiasAlbert Dohmen
ShepherdDavid Alegret


November 2021

13Saturday18:00Turn F

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Information of Interest


Richard Strauss
Elektra Suite (arrangement by Manfred Honeck) 

Igor Stravinsky
Oedipus rex