- Christoph Willibald von Gluck. Tragédie opéra in three acts. 1776.
- Libretto by Marie François Louis Gand Leblanc Roullet, after Calzabigi.
- First performance at the Paris Académie Royale de Musique on 23rd April 1776.
Changes in the French version presented the two children of Alcestis and Admetus in silent rôles,
cut out the parts of Ismene and the High Priest of Apollo and introduced Hercules (bass).
The French version of Alceste differs principally in the third act, although there are significant
changes in the earlier scenes. In the French version Hercules appears, visiting Admetus, and finding
him in mourning offers his services. Alcestis enters the Underworld, with Admetus attempting to
follow her in death. Hercules intervenes and defeats in battle the infernal gods. In a final scene
Apollo appears to set matters right. There is an extended final divertissement, with part of the music
written by Gossec. It is this later version that, on the whole, has been retained in current repertoire,
rather than the Italian version.
Gluck's overture to the opera may be heard in concert repertoire, with the dramatic air of Alceste
Divinités du Styx (Gods of the Styx).