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Dardanus is an opera written by Rameau in 1739 and performed at the Académie de musique in Paris. It features some of Rameau's best music, leading many to refer to it as "the musicians' opera".

Plot summary

The original story was loosely based on that of Dardanus. However, in the opera, Dardanus was at war with his friend King Truecer. There was also a sea monster involved.

Revisions

Critics accused Rameau's original opera of lacking a coherent plot. The inclusion of the sea monster also violated the French operatic convention of having a clear purpose for encounters with supernatural beings. In 1744, and again in 1760, Dardanus was revised extensively in an attempt to correct its shortcomings. Large portions of the score were sacrificed in favour of plot.

Popularity

The initial 1739 edition received 26 performances, mainly because of the support from Rameau's followers in the Lulliste-Ramiste argument. Dardanus is rarely performed today, but Marc Minkowski has made a recording of the 1739 version with John Mark Ainsley as Dardanus.

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