Description: Like many of the operas created by composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault, his favorite librettist, Phaëton is filled with solar symbolism--a reference to the "Sun King," Louis XIV. The story also provides a political lesson: the haughty youth unable to contend with his position of power served as a warning to anyone brash enough to challenge the rigid mores of Louis' court. In addition to this political interpretation, the story is also a character study of a reckless juvenile whose arrogance destroys him. Phaëton's misguided and inappropriate attempts to make his lineage public bring about his downfall. The plot, like that of several of Lully's operas, is based on an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Creator: Lully, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687 & Quinault, Philippe, 1635-1688