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Article

Mary Hunter

Libretto subject used in the late 18th century and the early 19th, based on the opéra comique Déserteur, Le by Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny to a libretto by Michel-Jean Sedaine (1769, Paris), and on a play of the same name by Louis Sébastien Mercier (1770...

Article

Paul Cauthen

Libretto subject used chiefly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its source is Greek history, in particular Euripides’ lost tragedy Cresphontes.

The story is set in the kingdom of Messenia in the Greek Peloponnese, ruled by Cresphontes, a descendant of Hercules, and his queen, Merope, princess of Messenian nobles Cresphontes is deposed by Polyphontes and executed along with two of his three sons. Merope sends the youngest son, Aepytus, into hiding in Arcadia. When he reaches manhood he returns to avenge his father’s murder; arriving in disguise, he announces that he has killed the long-missing third son of Cresphontes. Merope, whom Polyphontes has forced to become his wife, learns that Aepytus is no longer in Arcadia and orders the stranger put to death. Aepytus’s true identity is revealed before the execution; mother and son are reunited. Aepytus kills Polyphontes and assumes his rightful place on the throne....

Article

David Tunley

‘Opera phantasy’ in two acts by Edgar Bainton to a libretto by Robert Trevelyan; Sydney, Conservatorium Opera School, 20 May 1944.

The opera is based on a Hindu legend in which the God Krishna (tenor), then a young village herdsboy, reveals his magic power to make a pearl, borrowed from his mother Yashoda (contralto), grow into a magnificent tree. Krishna’s love for the village girl Rahda (soprano), who had refused to lend him a pearl and who had scorned both Krishna and the story of his exploit, is fulfilled at the end of the opera....

Article

Marita P. McClymonds

Libretto subject popular in the 18th century, taken from Ovid ’s Metamorphoses, iv.

A young Babylonian couple, Pyramus and Thisbe, were betrothed; but the families quarelled, broke off relations and forbade the young people to see each other. They decided to meet at night and elope. Then the tragic chain of events began that has given their story immortality: while waiting for Pyramus, Thisbe is frightened away by a lion and leaves her scarf behind; Pyramus arrives, finds the scarf bloody and mauled by Pyramus arrives, finds the scarf bloody and mauled by the lion, and stabs himself believing that Thisbe is dead; returning, Thisbe finds him dying, and she stabs herself; and finally her father arrives to find both young people dead, and he stabs himself too. The plot of course appears as the rustics’ play in Shakespeare’s ...

Article

Libretto by Gaetano Roccaforte, first set by Gennaro Manna (1742, Rome).

The libretto is based on a story found in Livy’s history of Rome, book 8. Having shared the hardships of war, the Latins, allies of the Romans, want representation in government; the Roman Senate refuses the request, whereupon the Latins declare war on the Romans. The Roman consul, Titus Manlius, commands his son Manlio [Manlius] to enter the Latin camp to determine the army’s strength, but gives him explicit orders not to engage in any fighting. In the camp Manlius is challenged to a duel by Geminio [Geminius], the Latin leader, whom he kills. Manlius returns in triumph, but his father harshly reminds him of his violated orders. To uphold the authority of the Senate and to maintain discipline in the army, Titus Manlius condemns his son to execution....