Libretto by James Shirley, one of the most renowned English playwrights of the 17th century
Music by Christopher Gibbons and Matthew Locke, two composers who had a major impact on Henry Purcell and his Restoration contemporaries.
Shirley’s libretto – inspired by Aesop’s fables – tells of how the gods Cupid and Death stay at the same inn and find their arrows exchanged unknowingly by the chamberlains: the result is complete chaos. Nature watches in horror as the world is turned upside down by a series of grotesque events: young lovers begin to die, while old men fall madly in love and sworn enemies embrace. Finally, it is Mercury who descends from heaven to restore the natural order. He punishes Cupid and Death and guides Nature to paradise, where the murdered lovers now reside in harmony.
The plot develops through spoken dialogue combined with dance and music.
Stage set : Jos Houben and Emily Wilson
Music Direction: Sébastien Daucè