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La Belle Hélène

La Belle Hélène

1862 was not a good year for Jacques Offenbach. His theatre, Bouffes-Parisien, had gone bankrupt and Paris had been deprived of a vital and critical voice in opposition to the political and cultural establishment. Instead his music was applauded by European high society in the health resort Bad Ems, where Offenbach started collaborating with the local orchestra.

His efforts to find success on the opera stages of the world failed: the opera Die Rheinnixen was not much of a hit in Vienna in 1864. However, when Napoleon III suddenly decided to revoke his uncle’s decree of government monopoly on theatre, anyone was free to open a theatre and perform whatever he or she wanted, wherever they wanted.

Offenbach sees his chance and puts his old librettists, Meilhac and Halévy, to work.
As Orpheus in the Underworld from 1857 had been such a huge hit, they decided to once again use the Ancient World as a theme when heckling the world around them. Work with the libretto took quite some time, but thanks to Offenbach’s remarkable speed in composing the music – the third act of the opera was composed in 72 hours – Helen of Troy could open 17 December 1864. The opera was an enormous success and many people consider Helen of Troy his greatest work after Tales of Hoffman.

Offenbach’s score has now been restored back to the original version, allowing us to hear the vitality, clarity and elegance that marks this piece of music, at the same time discovering that the political and cultural world has remained the same. Irony and satire are manifested in the same way now as 140 years ago.

In the lead role, the Göteborg Opera’s own Helen of Troy – Helena Holmberg


Kjell Ingebretsen

Helena, drottning av Sparta
Helena Holmberg

Bacchis, hennes kammarjungfru
Caisa-Stina Forssberg

Leona, hetär i Orestes följe
Marianne Schell

Parthenis, hetär i Orestes följe
Pia Svorono

Hermia, hovdam
Zorka Hunjak

Myrrine, hovdam
Elisabeth Persson

Iris, tärna
Carin Göransson

Ceres, tärna
Evalotta Åkesson

Paris, son till Priamus
Mattias Ermedahl

Orestes, son till Agamemnon
Tomas Lind

Kalchas, överstepräst
Hans Josefsson

Agamemnon, kungarnas kung
Peter Loguin

Menelaus, kung av Sparta
Sten Pernmyr

Akilles, kung av Phtia
Iwar Bergkwist

Ajax I, kung av Salamis
Ingemar Andersson

Ajax II, kung av Lokien
Torgny Sporsén

GöteborgsOperans orkester.

Med reservation för eventuella ändringar.


Kjell Ingebretsen

Sven-Åke Gustavsson

Iwar Bergkwist

Scenografi och kostym
Lars-Peder Lindström

Joakim Brink

Carin Göransson
Evalotta Åkesson


  • Genre: Opera
  • Season: 2002/2003
  • First show: 28 May 2003
  • Last show: 5 Jun 2003
  • Location:

    Main Stage

  • Length: Approx. 2 hours 15 minutes 1 interval
  • Info:Göteborg Main Stage