Opera in three acts by Richard Strauss Performed in Italian with German surtitles
Daphne, daughter of Peneios, refuses to take part in her father’s ritual celebration. She feels like a stranger and is afraid, afraid of the intoxicated state of the people and their destructiveness. Her father and the local young men, including her childhood friend Leukippos, pressurise her.
Gaea tries to force her daughter Daphne to comply with the conventions of the celebration. Frightened, Daphne leaves. Her girlfriends encourage Leukippos to approach Daphne again by disguising himself.
Peneios proclaims his vision of a new society where gods and men are equal. During frenetic incantations, a stranger appears. It is the god Apollo who has come down to earth disguised. He is a self-confessed liar. Daphne appears and falls for him. When he is about to claim her for his own, she recognises his deceit.
The celebration begins. Her deep affinity to Leukippos draws Daphne to him. Apollo exposes Leukippos’ trickery and kills him because Leukippos defies him. Daphne feels that she is guilty of Leukippos’ murder and rejects Apollo who has brought death and destruction. Believing that humanity is indestructible, Daphne goes to her death.