Giovanni Simone Mayr
Melodramma tragico in two acts
The deed is incomprehensible to this day: because her husband Jason wants to leave her for Kreusa the daughter of the Corinthian King, the sorceress Medea totally loses all mental and physical control and murders her own children in a frantic act of inhuman vengeance. Since ancient times, the Medea story has been a topos of boundless maternal cruelty, in which love turns to violence, and the rules that bind humans together are abrogated. With her magical and demonic powers and her clairvoyant knowledge Medea is a character who sparks primal fears and thus deserves to be shut out of human society.
With Medea in Corinto, arguably the most important Italian opera composer between Mozart and Rossini, Giovanni Simone Mayr, landed one of his biggest hits in Naples in 1813 – but actually this composer came from near Ingolstadt in Bavaria, transformed himself from Johann Simon to Giovanni Simone in his adopted country of Italy and also became one of the most significant composition teachers of his time. And the music for this downright impossible and unorthodox operatic character – after having been rarely performed for almost 200 years – has now slowly regained its rights, even if its story continues to be massively unsettling.