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Le Mage

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Act I

The camp of the Persian general Zarastra (Zoroaster), near the city of Bakhdi.

The Turanians lament their defeat by the Persians, led by Zarastra, and curse Amru, the high-priest of the Daevas, who encouraged them to fight but has now gone over to the other side. Amru’s daughter Varedha, priestess of Jahi, goddess of lust, loves Zarastra, but he has eyes only for the captive Turanian queen, Anahita. Anahita is in love with Zarastra, but she rejects him because of the conflict between their two nations.

Act II, first tableau

A subterranean chamber in the temple of Jahi. 

Varedha wants to die, but when her father tells her that Zarastra is in love with Anahita she decides that she will take revenge.

Act II, second tableau

The royal square in Bakhdi.

Hailed by the people, Zarastra presents before the Persian king the booty and the captives he has taken, and the triumphant Persian troops. As a reward for his victory he asks for the hand of Anahita, but just then Amru suddenly appears. He declares that Zarastra is already engaged to be married to Varedha and has given his oath before the Daevas. Faced with the general consternation and Anahita’s indignation, the king rules that Zarastra must marry the high-priest’s daughter. Furious, Zarastra curses the Persians and their gods. Banished, he flees, determined that the truth shall be known. He will appeal to Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom, to whom he will now devote his days.


The holy mountain.

Zarastra is now a magus. With his disciples he prays to Ahura Mazda. Left alone, he is joined by Varedha, who again swears her love for him, but in vain. Spitefully she tells him that Anahita is about to be married to the king. Troubled, Zarastra drives her away.

Act IV

The sanctuary in the temple of Jahi.

Initiatory and festive dances. Despite Anahita’s entreaties, the king insists on marrying her. Varedha is savouring her revenge, when the Turanians burst into the temple and attack her, the king and Amru. The king and Amru are slain; Varedha is left dying.

Act V

The ruins of the temple of Jahi.

Wandering amidst the ruins, Zarastra is torn between two desires: to serve his country and to see Anahita again. He eventually finds Anahita and the two lovers confess their love. Varedha, dying, regains consciousness and sees them. Cursing them, she calls upon the goddess Jahi to create a great fire and burn them both. But Zarastra prays to Ahura Mazda, who stops the flames, enabling the lovers to leave the temple. Varedha breathes a curse as she dies.

CD-Book Jules Massenet. Le Mage (2013). French libretto; translation: Mary Pardoe.

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Poet, Writer


(1849 - 1926)

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Le Mage





publication date : 19/12/23