Libretto based on the poem by Louis Payen
Performed in Italian with Russian surtitles
The opera was written in 1912. This version was first performed in Perm in 2001.
The tragic story of the love of the Roman general Mark Anthony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra has inspired many painters, poets, playwrights, and artists. Jules Massenet could not help being seduced by such a striking plot, especially as, in the years when he was composing, there was a fashion for Orientalism and pomposity in Parisian theatres.
This infrequently performed score is one of the collection of rare Massenet operas at the Perm Theatre. However, the plot of the opera has undergone some changes in Georgy Isaakyan's interpretation. The principal heroine is not the Egyptian queen, but great actresses of the past who have played Cleopatra at various times: legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt; enigmatic star of the Silver Age Ida Rubinstein, who acted the role during Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons in Paris; and Hollywood diva Elizabeth Taylor.