Inspired by stories from Euripides and Stesichorus, with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Richard Strausss two-act opera Die ägyptische Helena is a rarely seen side to the story of Helen of Troy. On her mystical island, the powerful sorceress Aithra learns from the Omniscient Seashell that returning to Sparta on a ship, Menelas means to murder Helena, unable to forgive his wife whose abduction sparked the Trojan War. To save Helena, Aithra conjures a flash storm to shipwreck the couple and uses her powers to intervene. In this telling, Helen attempts to repair her relationship, reflecting themes that were dear to Strauss: trust and illusion in marriage.
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