1-20 of 102 results  for:

  • Libretti and Source Texts x
  • Musical Works x
Clear all

Article

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]....

Article

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 ...

Article

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

Article

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....

Article

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....

Article

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....

Article

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....

Article

Ariadne  

John A. Rice

Libretto subject used chiefly during the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries (also as Ariane or Arianna). Its source is Greek mythology. Ariadne, daughter of Minos, king of Crete, fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseus, who came to Crete to slay the Minotaur, the monstrous offspring, half-bull, half-man, of Minos’s wife Pasiphae; she helped him to escape the Labyrinth by providing him (in one version) with a ball of string that he unwound as he penetrated it, thus enabling him to find his way out. Ariadne accompanied Theseus to the island of Naxos, where he abandoned her. In some versions she dies of grief; in others she is rescued by the god Dionysus (Bacchus), whom she weds....

Article

Armida  

Tim Carter

Libretto subject used from the 17th century to the early 20th. Its source is Torquato Tasso ’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata (1581). Almost 100 operas and ballets draw upon the love of the Saracen sorceress Armida for the Christian warrior Rinaldo (in French called Armide and Renaud), with such titles as ...

Article

Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Johann Adolf Hasse (1750, Dresden).

Regulus, the former Roman consul, who has been a prisoner in Carthage for five years, returns to Rome with the Carthaginian ambassador, Amilcare [Hamilcar], to discuss a possible exchange of prisoners, the first gesture in a move for peace. If Hamilcar’s offer is rejected, Regulus must return to Carthage to be executed. To save the honour of Rome, Regulus nevertheless counsels the Senate to reject the proposal....

Article

Lois Rosow and Marita P. McClymonds

Libretto subject favoured in the 17th and 18th centuries. Bellerophon, who loves (and is loved by) Philonoë, rejects the advances of Stheneboea (or Anteia), wife of King Proteus of Argos; she causes a monster, the Chimaera, to be unleashed on the kingdom, but Bellerophon kills it, secures Philonoë’s hand and turns out to be the son of Neptune....

Article

Thomas Bauman

Original-Singspiel in one act by Ignaz Umlauf to a libretto by Paul Weidmann; Vienna, Burgtheater, 17 February 1778.

Old Walcher (bass) opposes the suit of the young miner Fritz (tenor) for the hand of his ward Sophie (soprano), whom he secretly wishes to marry himself. After thwarting one rendezvous he ties Sophie to a tree. The gypsy Zelda (soprano) frees her and takes her place. When discovered, she reveals to Walcher that Sophie is his own daughter, stolen by gypsies. An attempt by Fritz to gain Walcher’s consent miscarries but when a mine shaft caves in on Walcher, Fritz rescues him and earns his blessing....

Article

Dorothea Link

Libretto by Gaetano Roccaforte , first set by Niccolò Jommelli (1746, Rome); the title also appears as Cajo Mario and Caio Marzio.

Roccaforte, typically, drew his subject matter from Roman history, in this case from Titus Livius, book 62.64, and Plutarch’s Lives. When Jugurtha invades a neighbouring kingdom, the Roman Senate sends the Consul, Gaius Marius, against him, accompanied by Annio [Annius], his future son’in’law, and Lucio [Lucius], his first lieutenant. Jugurtha is defeated in battle, and the only member of his family to survive is his daughter, Princess Rodope, with whom Lucius falls in love. She, however, loves Annius and wants to kill Marius’s daughter Marzia. Marius dreams that he has sacrificed his daughter to the gods; to discover the meaning of the dream he secretly sends Lucius to the oracle at Delso with instructions to follow his party to Rome. Lucius confides his mission to Rodope, who suggests that he falsify the oracle, and he agrees; he persuades her to meet him in Rome....

Article

Marita P. McClymonds

Libretto by Mattia Verazi , first set by Antonio Sacchini (1770, Ludwigsburg).

Agricane has conquered Assyria to avenge his sister, Bicestre, whom the Assyrian heir Tarsile has scorned, and to prevent Tarsile’s marriage to Callirhoë. Believing Tarsile dead, Callirhoë poisons herself. When Tarsile appears with an army, Callirhoë’s father Arsace and brother Sidonio join him in seeking vengeance. Callirhoë wakes – she had taken only a sleeping potion – and restores peace. The author credits Giacommelli’s Italian translation of Greek stories and Lopez de Vega’s ...

Article

Marilyn Fritz Shardlow

(b near Winchester, VA, Dec 7, 1873; d New York, NY, April 24, 1947). American poet, journalist, and author. Between 1892 and 1940, she produced numerous novels, three short story collections, and one volume of poetry. Born and raised in rural Virginia, Cather moved with her family to Nebraska in ...

Article

Don Neville

Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Leonardo Vinci (1728, Rome).

Cesare [Caesar] is preparing to attack Utica. Cato, ruler of Utica and Caesar’s last opponent after the murder of Pompey, wants his daughter, Marzia [Marcia], to marry his ally, Arbace [Arbaces], Prince of Numidia. Marcia, secretly in love with Caesar, persuades Arbaces not to mention the subject of marriage. Cato receives Caesar and Fulvio [Fulvius] who arrive unarmed with a bid for peace. Emilia, Pompey’s widow, suspects treachery and rails against Caesar. Fulvius, Caesar’s ally, expresses his love for Emilia, who demands that he murder Caesar before speaking to her of love. Caesar, at first spurned by Marcia, convinces her of his honourable intentions. Emilia is quick to counter such notions, suspecting Marcia’s feelings for Caesar....

Article

Judith A. Sebesta

(b New York, NY, Nov 24, 1934). American lyricist and director. Charnin graduated from Cooper Union in New York and began his career as an actor, appearing as a Jet in the original production of West Side Story. He first worked as a lyricist with Mary Rodgers on ...