Synopsis: Atys

von Jean-Baptiste Lully


Time, in his palace, promises fame to the glorious hero (Louis XIV). Flora joins the celebrations. Melpomene, the tragic muse, is united with Flora in order for the drama of Attis (Atys) to unfold.

In the land of Phrygia, Attis awaits the arrival of the earth goddess Cybele (Cybèle). Sangaride, due to be married to King Celaenus (Célenus), sings of her unrequited love for Attis. Seeing her distress, Attis confesses that he too loves her. Cybele descends in her chariot.

Attis and Celaenus cannot decide which of them will be the high priest for Cybele. Cybele also loves Attis and selects him to be high priest, confessing that it was for him and not Celaenus's marriage that she descended to earth.

At the instigation of Cybele, Attis falls into a dreamfilled sleep in which he hears songs of love, but also warnings of danger should he deceive the gods. He wakes to find Cybele at his side, ready to comfort him. Sangaride begs Attis to prevent her marriag to Celaenus, and he promises to support her. Cybele, suspecting their love, laments her fate.

Sangaride thinks that Attis no longer loves her, but he reassures her and they celebrate their love. As the high priest of Cybele, Attis calls off the wedding of Sangaride and Celaenus.

Cybele and Celaenus plot revenge against the lovers. The goddess places Attis under a spell and, in his delusion, he murders Sangaride, thinking her to be a monster. After regaining his reason, Attis tries to take his own life, and Cybele turns him into a pine tree. She laments the loss of her one true love, and the opera ends in desolation.