Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus

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The opera is set in Laconia (Lacemaedonia) in ancient Greece.

Hyacinthus, with the help of his friend Zephyrus, is making the final preparations for a sacrifice which has been ordered by his father, King Oebalus, in honour of the god Apollo. As storm clouds gather, Oebalus orders the sacrificial fire to be lit, and the people offer their prayers to Apollo. Their offering is seemingly rejected when lightning destroys the altar and extinguishes the fire, but Hyacinthus, suspecting that the wrath of the gods has in fact been aroused by Zephyrus' earlier words of disrespect, offers comfort and encouragement to his father. Suddenly, Apollo himself appears, in the guise of a shepherd, having been banished from the heavens after an altercation with Jupiter. Melia is instantly enchanted by him, and the god assures Oebalus that their prayers will be answered.

Chorus I
While Apollo, Hyacinthus and Zephyrus are throwing the discus together, Oebalus tells Melia that Apollo wishes to marry her. Melia rejoices in her great fortune and happiness, and rapturously anticipates being treated like a goddess. Zephyrus, though, rushes in to announce that Hyacinthus is dead. He has been killed during the discus
game, and Zephyrus, although guilty of the murder himself, blames the crime on Apollo. Astounded, Oebalus goes in search of the god. Zephyrus insists that Apollo is evil, and tries to persuade Melia to marry him instead, but Apollo soon arrives. He punishes Zephyrus for his treachery by transforming him into a wind and having him dragged off to Aeolus' cave. Still believing Apollo to be the murderer of her brother, Melia sees this act of retribution as further evidence of Apollo's volatility and wickedness, and the two argue.

Chorus II
On the banks of the river Eurotas, Oebalus has discovered his son still alive. With his final words Hyacinthus tells Oebalus that it was Zephyrus, not Apollo, who killed him. Oebalus swears vengeance, his emotions fluctuating turbulently between anger and grief. Melia arrives to report that she has followed her father's orders and banished Apollo from the kingdom. As they realise the truth, they express their anguish and fear at how they have wronged the god. Apollo returns, however, and expresses his love for Hyacinthus by transforming the boy's dead body into a bank of flowers which will bear his name forever. He forgives Oebalus and Melia, and reaffirms his wish to marry Melia and stay with them on earth. After all the storms and sorrows, peace and joy finally reign.