Énée et Lavinie (Collasse)

Énée et Lavinie (Aeneas and Lavinia) is an opera by the French composer Pascal Collasse, first performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opéra) on 7 November 1690. It takes the form of a tragédie lyrique in a prologue and five acts.

The libretto, by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, is based on the later books of Virgil's Aeneid. A new setting by the composer Antoine Dauvergne appeared in 1758.


Cast Voice type Premiere[1]
Vénus, (the goddess Venus) soprano Fanchon or Louison Moreau
Énée (Aeneas), a Trojan prince haute-contre Louis Gaulard Dumesny
Latinus, King of Latium basse-taille (bass-baritone) Jean Dun
Amate (Amata), his queen
Lavinie (Lavinia), their daughter soprano Marthe Le Rochois
Turnus, King of the Rutuli basse-taille Moreau[2]
Junon (the goddess Juno) soprano Marie-Louise Desmatins
L'ombre de Didon (the ghost of Dido)
Le grand prêtre de Janus (the high priest of Janus)


Aeneas, fleeing the destruction of Troy, has arrived in Latium in Italy. The King of Latium wants to marry his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas, but the Trojan has a rival in the local prince Turnus, who is favoured by the queen and the goddess Juno. Juno provokes Turnus to fight the Trojans. The king consults the oracle of his father, the god Faunus, who says that Lavinia must choose her husband for herself and then there will be peace. The ghost of Dido warns Lavinia not to trust her faithless lover Aeneas. The god Bacchus also inspires Lavinia with a hatred of the Trojans and she announces she will marry Turnus. Aeneas reproaches her for her choice and tells her he only abandoned Dido because the god Jupiter told him to. Lavinia admits she loathes Turnus and was only persuaded to marry him by a divine fury sent by Bacchus. Turnus arrives and Aeneas challenges him to single combat. Turnus accepts. The goddess Venus brings Aeneas special armour. Aeneas and Turnus fight (offstage) and Aeneas is victorious. Juno renounces her hatred for the Trojans and the opera ends with the wedding of Aeneas and Lavinia.


  1. According to Francis B. Assaf Introduction - Appendice, in Antoine Houdar de La Motte Les Originaux ou L'Italien, Tübingen, Narr Verlag, 2012, p. 28, ISBN 978-3-8233-6717-8.
  2. This singer, whose first name has not been reported, was a brother of Louison and Fanchon Moreau (cf. Chanteurs de l'Opéra), either of whom (probably Fanchon) created the role of Vénus. Of course, he is not to be confused with another Moreau who sang the basse-taille at the Paris Opéra about a century later.
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