Dardanus is an opera in five acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau. The French libretto was by Charles-Antoine Leclerc de La Bruère. It was first performed at the Académie de musique in Paris on November 19, 1739. It received 26 performances, mainly because of the support from Rameau's followers in the dispute between the styles of Rameau and Lully.
The original story is loosely based on that of Dardanus. In Greek mythology, Dardanus was a son of Zeus and Electra, daughter of Atlas, and founder of the city of Dardania on Mount Ida in the Troad. In the opera, Dardanus is at war with King Teucer, who has promised to marry his daughter Iphise to King Antenor. Dardanus and Iphise meet, through the intervention of the magician Isménor, and fall in love. Dardanus attacks a monster ravaging Teucer's kingdom, saving the life of Anténor who is attempting, unsuccessfully, to kill it. Teucer and Dardanus make peace, the latter marrying Iphise.
Critics accused Rameau's original opera of lacking a coherent plot. The inclusion of the sea monster also violated the French operatic convention of having a clear purpose for encounters with supernatural beings.
In 1744 and again in 1760, Dardanus was revised extensively in an attempt to correct its shortcomings. Large portions of the score were sacrificed in favour of plot but some scenes as arresting as the "Prison scene" were added in the process.
Dardanus was produced three times in the 20th century: in 1907 at Dijon, in 1979 at the Opéra de Paris, and finally in 1998, in a concert version, at the time of a recording by Marc Minkowski. The Royal Academy of Music also staged Dardanus in London in 2006. This 2000 recording stars John Mark Ainsley and is conducted by Marc Minkowski.