Haendel : Hercules

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First collaboration between William Christie & Luc Bondy, Haendel‘s “Hercules“, with Joyce DiDonato as Dejanira. Filmed at the Palais Garnier (Paris)

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Haendel : Hercules

First collaboration ever between conductor William Christie and director Luc Bondy with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, this production of Hercules has been a major event. 

Hercules returns from the war with Iole, a princess he fell in love with. Mad with jealousy, Déjanire, his wife, ends up totally insane after poisoning her husband.

Half theatrical performance, half secular oratorio, Hercules wasn’t originally meant to be performed in front of an audience. Luc Bondy chose to show the dramatis personae as ordinary people victims of their passions. The superb chorus of the Arts Florissants, both mediator and prosecutor, is the main witness of this tragedy of women’s jealousy.

The Orchestre des Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie, is at its best with Haendel, allowing Christie to support and accompany a stellar vocal cast.

With his great presence, British baritone William Shimel gives a spectacular death to his hero while American mezzo Joyce DiDonato excels as Déjanire. Gifted with a particularly rich timbre, she displays an admirable singing technique and superlative dramatic abilities. Soprano Ingela Bohlia and mezzo Malena Ernmann, both from Sweden, make marvels in the supporting roles. Last but not least, British tenor Toby Spence serves the beautiful role of Hyllus with his elegant singing.

 The movie Hercules received the student prize at the Golden Prague 2005.


Haendel : Hercules [DVD & Blu-ray]

Musical drama in three acts
Music : Georg Friedrich Haendel (1685-1759)
Libretto : Thomas Broughton

Hercules : William Shimell
Dejanira : Joyce DiDonato
Hyllus : Toby Spence
Iole : Ingela Bohlin
Lichas : Malena Ernman
Priest of Jupiter : Simon Kirkbride

Les Arts Florissants
Conductor : William Christie

Stage direction : Luc Bondy

Sets : Richard Peduzzi
Costumes : Rudy Sabounghi
Lighting design : Dominique Bruguière


”The Arts Florissants ensemble and William Christie’s assured musical leadership, and on the stage with the Arts Florissants chorus and the mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato’s tempestuous and vocally imposing portrayal of Dejanira” – Herald Tribune

Technical informations

HD recording : Opéra national de Paris (Palais Garnier) | 12/2004
TV direction : Vincent Bataillon
Release date : 01 April 2015
Distribution : Naxos Distribution

: BAC213
Barcode : 3760115302136
Running time : 190 min.
Booklet : FR / ENG / GER
Subtitles : FR / ENG / GER / SPA
Image : Color, 16/9, NTSC
Sound : PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Region code : 0

Reference : BAC513
Barcode : 3760115305137
Running time : 190 min.
Booklet : FR / ENG / GER
Subtitles: FR / ENG / GER / SPA
Image : Color, 16/9, Full HD
Sound : PCM 2.0, DTS HD Master audio 5.1
Region code : A, B, C

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