Médée is a French language opéra-comique by Luigi Cherubini. The libretto by François-Benoît Hoffmann was based on Euripides' tragedy of Medea and Pierre Corneille's play Médée.
The opera was premiered on March 13, 1797 at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. It met with a lukewarm reception and was not immediately revived. During the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century, it was usually performed in Italian translation as Medea, with the spoken dialogue replaced by recitatives not authorised by the composer. More recently, opera companies have returned to Cherubini's original version.
Callas Revivals (1953-1962)
Perhaps the most famous 20th-century revival of the work was in Florence in 1953, with Maria Callas in the title role, conducted by Vittorio Gui. Callas learned and performed the role within a week, to critical acclaim. The production was so successful that the Teatro alla Scala decided to stage this opera during the opening week of its 1953-1954 season, with Leonard Bernstein filling in for an indisposed Victor de Sabata and staged by Margherita Wallmann.Callas performed the role throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, with possibly the most famous production being by the Dallas Opera in 1958, conducted by Nicola Rescigno (with Jon Vickers as Jason) and directed by the Greek director Alexis Minotis. This production traveled to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London in 1959, and to La Scala (where a few minutes of it were filmed) in 1961-62. It was in these performances that Callas made her last appearances in Italy.