The Vienna version of Alceste was Gluck's second reform opera after Orfeo ed Euridice. The libretto and music revolve around a self-sacrificing main character, and it is quite probable that the courageous bearing of Empress Maria Theresia while mourning her husband provided Gluck with the impetus for this material. Alceste is reminiscent of Beethoven's subsequent Fidelio as a pure anthem to conjugal love. As Orfeo before it, Alceste did not achieve major success at the first performance of the Vienna version on 20 December 1767, but instead became widely-known when performed as a tragedie opera nine years later in Paris, after the addition of ballet music in French, the version we see performed here. This production from 2006 was acclaimed as the Opera Production of the Year, by German magazine Opernwelt. The title role is played by Catherine Naglestad, voted Female Opera Singer of the Year 2006.