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Don Neville

Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Antonio Caldara (1736, Vienna). The title Il trionfo della gloria was used for later versions of this libretto.

In order to circumvent the destiny that awaits Achilles in the Trojan War, his mother, Thetis, has asked Chiron, his old tutor, to conceal him on the island of Scyros; Chiron has placed his charge among the women at the court of King Licomede [Lycomedes]....

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Dale E. Monson

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its principal source is Virgil’s Aeneid. Operas on the subject appear under various titles including Enea nel Lazio, Enea in Italia and Enea e Lavinia, and in French as Enée et Lavinie.

In opera Aeneas is most widely known for his desertion of Dido (particularly in Nahum Tate’s poetry for Purcell in ...

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(b New York, NY, Oct 1, 1948). American lyricist. She has collaborated frequently with Stephen Flaherty.

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John A. Rice

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 17th and 18th centuries, based on Euripides′ Alcestis. When Admetus, King of Pherae in Thessaly, is ill and about to die an oracle announces that he will be saved if someone else is willing to die in his stead. His wife Alcestis displays her conjugal devotion by offering herself; she dies and Admetus recovers. According to some versions, Hercules then brings Alcestis back from the Underworld and reunites her with Admetus....

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Dale E. Monson

Libretto subject popular in the 18th century. Homer ’s Iliad recounts the unfortunate early life of Andromache, daughter of Eëtion, the king of Thebes in Cilicia. Andromache’s husband Hector, as well as her father and brothers, are killed in the Trojan war, and her son Astyanax (also known as Scamandrius) is thrown from the walls. (In some versions of the legend he survives; librettos using this story are sometimes entitled ...

Article

Dale E. Monson

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its source is Greek mythology.

The story of Perseus’ rescue of Andromeda from a sea monster was one of the most popular subjects of early opera, with over 25 independent librettos before 1800 (operas on the subject were also entitled ...

Article

Tim Carter

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Its source is Ludovico Ariosto ’s epic poem Orlando furioso (1516); operas based on the story were also entitled Orlando, Roland, Orlando paladino and Le pazzie di Orlando.

Orlando (in French, Roland), nephew of Charlemagne, is one of several warriors infatuated with the pagan Angelica, daughter of the Great Khan of Cathay. The issue comes to a head with the appearance (in Canto xviii:165ff) of Medoro, an African prince. Medoro is seriously injured attempting to rescue the body of Prince Dardinello from the Christian camp. Angelica (xix: 17) heals his wounds and, as they rest in a shepherd’s house, falls in love with him: the account of Angelica and Medoro’s union as they dally in forest groves carving their names on trees and rocks (xix: 26–36) produces some of Ariosto’s most sensual verse. The couple leave for Spain; Angelica rewards the shepherd with a bracelet given to her by Orlando. Orlando, arriving in the forest (xxiii: 101), is incensed to see the carvings and even more distraught on hearing the shepherd’s tale and seeing the bracelet. Mad with rage, he runs naked through the land, wreaking havoc and destruction (xxiii: 129–xxiv: 14). He catches up with Angelica and Medoro in Spain (xxix:58–67), kills Medoro’s horse and pursues Angelica, who escapes only by virtue of a magic ring. Orlando continues on the rampage (xxx:4–15), swimming the straits of Gibraltar to Africa. Orlando’s allies hear of his madness (xxxi:42–8, 61–4), and St John the Evangelist explains (xxxiv:62–6) to Astolfo, Prince of England, that it is divine punishment for his loving a pagan. They fly to the moon to recover Orlando’s wits, stored there in a phial. Orlando arrives at Astolfo’s camp (xxxix:35), is forcibly restrained by the Christians, and (xxxix:57) has his wits restored. Sane, he is no longer in love, and he continues the campaign against the infidels. Angelica and Medoro’s fate is less clear, although we are told (xlii:38) that they sail to India where (xxx:16) he will become king....

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Marita P. McClymonds

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 18th century, derived from plays by Sophocles and Euripides . Italian librettos on the subject were entitled Antigona or occasionally Creonte.

The plot concerns Antigone, daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. Her brothers Polynices and Eteocles have died, each at the other’s hand; their maternal uncle Creon, who is acting as regent in Oedipus’s absence, has forbidden the proper burial of Polynices, but Antigone defiantly attempts to bury him. In Sophocles’ version of the story Creon inters her alive in a vault and her betrothed Haemon kills himself; in Euripides’ version Creon hands Antigone over to Haemon to be executed, but instead he hides her among shepherds and she bears his child....

Article

Don Neville

Libretto by Pietro Metastasio , first set by Johann Adolf Hasse (1743, Hubertus burg). The title Alessandro, rè d’Epiro was used for a later version of the libretto.

Act1 Princess Berenice of Egypt is engaged to Antigonus, King of Macedonia, but loves his son Demetrio [Demetrius]. Antigonus banishes Demetrius who returns to warn his father that King Alessandro [Alexander] of Epirus, previously spurned by Berenice, seeks revenge in a campaign against the Macedonians. Ismene, Antigonus’s daughter, confesses to Berenice her love for Alexander. During the battle, Demetrius disobeys his father in order to ensure the safety of Berenice, and the Macedonians are defeated. Antigonus, after banishing his son, is captured by Alexander along with Ismene and Berenice who steadfastly resists her captor’s protestations of love....

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Heading normally given to the prefatory material of a printed libretto ( see Libretto ) in which the background to the plot (‘the story so far’) is outlined. Its purpose is to inform the audience of relevant events supposed to have taken place before the rise of the curtain and thus to help elucidate what follows....