La Belle Hélène

General Information

GenreOperetta .  LanguageFrenchYear of the Premiere1864Acts3


Juno, Minerva and Venus have chosen Priamo’s son, Paris, as a judge to deliver an apple to whichever he believed to be the most beautiful out of the three. Paris chooses Venus, and she promises him Helena of Troy as reward. Paris gives to Calchas a letter from the goddess commanding to ensure Helena’s love for Paris. Paris dresses up as a shepherd and wins three trophies in a words tournament under Agamemnon’s direction. Everybody knows he is the one that gave the apple to Venus and Helena realizes is fatality who has send the men of the apple to her. Paris is crown winner by Hélène, to Achilles and two Ajaxs’ annoyance, and Ménélas invite him to a banquet. Paris has paid off Calchas, the High Priest of Jupiter, so Filocomo predicts to Ménélas that he has to leave Crete. Paris takes adavantage of Ménélas absence to pay a visit to Hélène that night. Though she knows her destiny, she seems to resist and he comes out with a strategy. He leaves, but he comes back when she is sleeping. He tells Hélèna everything is going to happen is just a dream, and she is happy with that understanding. Ménélas returns suddenly, though, and catch them both by surprise. Hélèna decides Ménélas himself is to blame, since he obviously does not know when to arrive and when to stay way, as a good husband should. Paris tries unsuccessfully to talk Ménélas out of putting on a scandal. When everybody is alert and urge Paris to leave as he came. Paris agrees to leave but promises to come back to finish what he started. The king and his retinue leaves then to Naupalia for the summer season. The High Priest of Venus arrives in a boat, explaining he has to take Hélène to Cythera where she will do a hecatomb for her offences. Ménélas asks to join her, but she rejects him saying is he and not she who has offended the goddess. However, when she realizes the High Priest is no other than Paris in disguise she leaves aboard with him and they both leave together… which starts the Trojan War. 



Queen of Sparta

Son of King Priam of Troy

King of Sparta

King of Kings

High Priest of Jupiter

King of Phthiotis

Son of Agamemnon
Ajax ITenor

King of Salamis
Ajax IIBaritone

King of Locrians

Calchas' attendant

A blacksmith

Helene's attendant

A hetaira

A hetaira