Composers and their stage works 

Echo and Narcissus

(Eco y Narciso)

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Zarzuela based on a Greek myth. wr.1661

While hunting, the shepherd Antaeus captures Liriope, a strange creature clothed in skins, and brings her as a trophy to Echo, a beautiful maiden with whom he is in love. Liriope recounts that a magician had prophesied that her son Narcissus would die because of "a voice and a beauty"; she had therefore raised him in a cave, far from society. To find her absent son, she now asks everyone to sing, and Narcissus eventually appears. He has fallen in love with Echo's voice but in obedience to his mother gives her up and wanders off into the mountains. Liriope deprives Echo of the normal use of her voice.

Wandering in the mountains, Echo finds Narcissus leaning over a pool. He speaks to the image, and Echo replies, but she can only repeat his last one or two words. Narcissus learns that there is no beautiful nymph in the water and that he has fallen in love with his own image; he dies, destroyed by his love of his own beauty and his hatred of a voice that echoes his despair. Narcissus is changed into a flower, and Echo turns to air when an amorous shepherd tries to embrace her.