In Thebes, an ancient feud which is under a curse continues between the families of the ruling dynasty, the Labdaceans and the Menoceans. Oedipus’ fated marriage to his mother resulted in the birth of the twin brothers Etocles and Polynices and the daughters Antigone and Ismene.
Eteocles and Polynices have been slain by each other. Creon, the son of Menoceus, declares Polynices as an enemy of the state and prohibits his burial on pain of death.
The Labdacean Antigone disregards Creon’s prohibition and repeatedly performs funeral rites on the corpse of her brother. Creon has her captured by watchmen and pronounces that she is to be sentenced to death in a sealed cave.
The blinkered Creon remains unmoved by the words of Antigone’s fiancé, the voice of the people and the warning of the seer Tiresias. He realises his error too late. Through the nemesis of Antigone, he also loses his own life.
 from Werner Thomas in: Pipers Enzyklopädie des Musiktheaters, Vol. 4, Munich 1991, p.581 ff.
Image: Rudolf Betz, Munich