Rousseau’s Pygmalion in Riddarhuset, 15 June 2016

On 15 June 2016 a new performance of Performing Premodernity’s production of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalion will take place in heart of the old city of Stockholm, in the beautiful hall of The House of Nobility, built in the 17th-century (Riddarhuset). Are you interested in attending the performance? Send an email to Maria Gullstam.

The Ovidian myth about the Greek sculptor Pygmalion who falls in love with his own statue was popular among 18th-century opera composers, and perhaps this was one reason why Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) decided to use it when writing his ‘scène lyrique Pygmalion in 1762. First performed at the Hôtel de Ville in Lyon in 1770, it can be understood as a reaction against what he saw as the insubstantial and shallow Parisian opera world. Pygmalion is often referred to as the first melodrama. The text is spoken rather than sung while the silent stage action is accompanied by instrumental music. The music for Pygmalion was composed under Rousseau’s supervision by the amateur composer Horace Coignet (1735-1821), a resident of Lyon. Read the full programme for Performing Premodernity’s Pygmalion here, with Rousseau’s text in French and English (translation by Maria Gullstam, Felicity Baker and Magnus Tessing Schneider).