Die Argonauten
Die Argonauten
© Christina Baumann-Canaval


Franz Grillparzer

Premiere: 29 April 2023 / Salzburg State Theatre


A story about growing up, a nautical drama, a hero fighting for authority and for love, a heroine who must choose between her feelings and her duty: These are the manifold ingredients of the play “The Argonauts”.

“Argo” is the name of the ship by which Jason and his companions travel to Colchis in order to find the legendary Golden Fleece and take it home as a symbol of power. The legend of the Golden Fleece is one of the most famous European myths. With his “Golden Fleece” trilogy, Grillparzer wrote a main work of Austrian Classicism.

“The Argonauts” is the middle part of the trilogy. For Jason, the journey aboard the “Argo” represents a ritual of growing up. He needs to fulfil the seemingly impossible mission of bringing home the Golden Fleece in order to succeed to the throne. Along the way, he braves nautical challenges as well as nymphs, six-armed giants and adverse winds. Once he reaches Colchis, he falls in love with Medea, the king’s daughter, who must now decide if her loyalties lie with her family or with the foreign prince.

Apart from the individual fates of its protagonists, the play explores central themes of European identity, discussing categories such as departure, foreign lands, homelands, war and escape.

Franz Grillparzer (1791–1872) is one of the most important writers in Austrian literature. He turned to playwriting after studying law. His work is characterised by great diversity, incorporating elements of ancient literature, references to Weimar Classicism as well as the tradition of Viennese folk plays. His most widely known works include “The Golden Fleece” as well as “Ein treuer Diener seines Herrn”.

Nuran David Calis is a theatre and film director, screenwriter and dramatist. He has made a name for himself as a director of classical plays and creator of documentary theatre formats with a political focus. At the Salzburg State Theatre he realised the much acclaimed project #ERSTHELFER #FIRSTAID, nominated for a Nestroy Prize, in the 2020/2021 season.