'Emőke Baráth is superb in the title role...'

The Times

‘You’re unlikely to see this rarity better staged anywhere’

The Guardian
  • Details

    Love conquers all in this tale of a courageous daughter who defies her father to save her husband. This early Baroque opera is a rare gem – join us for its UK premiere.

    Best availability in July.

    A story of loyalty, suffering and redemption

    Hipermestra is one of the 50 daughters of King Danao of Argos, whose twin brother, King Egitto, has 50 sons.

    Danao lives in fear of a prophecy that his life and kingdom will be taken by the lover of one of his daughters. So he commands all his daughters to marry and then kill all the sons of Egitto. 49 daughters obey, but Hipermestra refuses to slay her husband, Linceo.

    Despite the trials and dangers that ensue, courage, love and loyalty triumph.

    A UK first for the Cavalli opera

    Working in 17th-century Venice soon after the world’s first public opera houses opened there, composer Francesco Cavalli had no tradition to follow. He gave his fertile imagination free rein, tinkering with the brand-new art form to create the lively Venetian style of opera, with its melodious arias, sprightly dance rhythms, free-wheeling mythological or historical plots and generous dollops of comedy.

    Like most of Cavalli’s operas Hipermestra wasn’t performed between the late 17th century and recent years. Our performances at Glyndebourne mark its UK premiere and unite conductor William Christie with director Graham Vick.

    Sung in Italian with English supertitles. This production contains scenes of a sexual nature.

    Enrich your experience

    Dig deeper into Hipermestra at these extra events for Festival 2017:

    Insider talk
    Inside an orchestra with the OAE, Sunday 4 June

    Pre-performance talk
    Friday 9 June

    Study event
    ‘Hipermestra: Cavalli and opera’s wonder years’, Saturday 8 July

    Archive Gallery exhibition
    Baroque Innovation, 20 May-9 July

    Hipermestra is generously supported by Carol and Paul Collins through Glyndebourne Association America Inc.

  • Cast and creative team

    Creative team

    Conductor William Christie
    Director Graham Vick
    Designer Stuart Nunn
    Lighting Designer Giuseppe Di Iorio

    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
    Leader Kati Debretzeni

    Violins Kati Debretzeni, Huw Daniel
    Cello Jonathan Manson
    Violone Christine Sticher
    Lutes Elizabeth Kenny, Sam Chapman
    Harp Joy Smith
    Lirone Emilia Benjamin


    Hipermestra Emőke Baráth
    Linceo Raffaele Pe
    Arbante Benjamin Hulett
    Elisa Ana Quintans
    Danao Renato Dolcini
    Vafrino Anthony Gregory
    Berenice Mark Wilde
    Arsace David Webb
    Delmiro/Alindo Alessandro Fisher

  • Dates and times


    Date Start Long interval Finish Price band
    Sat 20 May 5.10pm 7.05pm 9.30pm 2
    Wed 24 May 5.10pm 7.05pm 9.30pm 3
    Sat 27 May 5.10pm 7.05pm 9.30pm 2


    Date Start Long interval Finish Price band
    Thu 1 June 5.10pm 7.05pm 9.30pm 3
    Sun 4 June 3.55pm 5.50pm 8.15pm 2
    Fri 9 June 5.10pm 7.05pm 9.30pm 2
    Thu 15 June 5.10pm 7.25pm 9.45pm 3
    Sun 18 June 3.55pm 6.10pm 8.30pm 2
    Fri 23 June 5.10pm 7.25pm 9.45pm 2
    Thu 29 June 5.10pm 7.25pm 9.45pm 3


    Date Start Long interval Finish Price band
    Sun 2 July 3.55pm 6.10pm 8.30pm 2
    Wed 5 July 5.10pm 7.25pm 9.45pm 3
    Sat 8 July 5.10pm 7.25pm 9.45pm 2

  • Synopsis

    Act I

    The 50 daughters of Danao, King of Argos, are engaged to marry the 50 sons of his brother Egitto. Afraid of an oracle predicting that he will lose his kingdom and his life to one of his daughters’ fiancés, Danao orders all his daughters to kill their husbands on their wedding night.

    But Danao’s eldest daughter, Hipermestra, has fallen in love with her fiancé Linceo and reveals Danao’s plot to him, urging him to escape. The next morning, Danao discovers that every one of his daughters has followed his orders except Hipermestra. He imprisons her for her disobedience.

    Act II

    In prison, Hipermestra learns that Linceo has gathered his army and is on his way to Argos. Berenice, Hipermestra’s nurse, tells her that General Arbante would like to marry her. Arbante tries to convince Hipermestra that Linceo is returning only to kill her father. But Hipermestra refuses to betray Linceo and asks Arbante to leave.

    Upon Linceo’s arrival, King Danao, fearing for his life, asks Arbante to offer Linceo the kingdom. Hipermestra asks her confidante Elisa to beg Linceo for her father’s life. After Elisa leaves, Berenice suggests that Linceo might fall in love with Elisa, but Hipermestra dismisses the idea.

    Linceo has encamped his army by Argos’ walls. He orders his general Delmiro to rescue Hipermestra from her imprisonment. After Delmiro leaves, Arbante arrives and Linceo asks after Hipermestra. Smarting from Hipermestra’s rejection, Arbante falsely tells Linceo that Hipermestra has married Gebete, Prince of Corinth, and that Danao has an army ready to oppose Linceo. Bent on revenge, Linceo sets out to destroy Argos and kill Hipermestra

    Act III

    Hipermestra begs Delmiro to kill her, but he takes pity on her and encourages her to escape. Believing Hipermestra to be dead, Linceo declares his love for Elisa, who reveals that Arbante lied about Hipermestra’s supposed infidelity. In despair, Hipermestra throws herself off a tower, but is miraculously rescued. Linceo and Hipermestra are happily reunited.

    Graham Vick

    Watch Hipermestra: the story in two minutes