A king haunted by nightmares, princes as charming as they are flighty, a young woman disguised as a warrior to find her unfaithful lover, a slave who wants to be queen without giving up her lovers – without forgetting the old nurse who dreams of love! The portrait gallery on which Erismena opens promises dizzying romantic intrigue. This work by Cavalli, who had become the most eminent opera composer of his time, seems to have been a huge success following its creation in Venice in 1655, if the large number of productions staged over the following twenty years or so – even reaching as far as England – are anything to go by. Maestro Leonardo García Alarcón, a fervent admirer of Cavalli, joins forces with director Jean Bellorini, poet of the stage and leader of the company, to revive this rarely-performed work. With its wealth of arias and tragicomic situations, Erismena offers a romantic, human kind of opera, in contrast to the mythological works of previous decades. There are no more gods here, or ancient heroes, but kings, princesses, soldiers and slaves carried away by a deliciously convoluted plot in which disguise and hidden identities become the allies of allconquering desire.