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Article

David Charlton

Comédie-balletmêlée de chants et de danses in four acts by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry to a libretto by Jean François Marmontel ; Fontainebleau, 9 November 1771.

This version of the Beauty and the Beast story was created from two literary sources: the substance of the story is from ...

Article

Clive Brown

Romantische Oper in two acts by Louis Spohr to a libretto by Johann Jakob Ihlée after Jean François Marmontel ’s comédie-balletZémire et Azor; Frankfurt, 4 April 1819.

After accepting the post of director of the Frankfurt opera in 1817, Spohr considered a number of possible opera projects. He began work on a version of Apel’s tale ...

Article

Zenobia  

Don Neville

Libretto by Pietro Metastasio , first set by Luca Antonio Predieri (1740, Vienna).

Act 1 Zenobia, daughter of Mitridate, King of Armenia, has married Radamisto, Prince of Iberia, for political reasons. When Mitridate is assassinated, Radamisto, falsely accused, flees with Zenobia. A Parthian army, led by Tiridate, with whom Zenobia had previously been in love, pursues them. Weakened by the flight, Zenobia begs Radamisto to end her life rather than let her fall victim to the Parthians; jealous of the previous love between his wife and Tiridate, Radamisto attempts to comply. The wounded Zenobia, however, is soon discovered by Egle, a shepherdess, and nursed back to health. While searching for Radamisto, Zenobia overhears Tiridate learn of her apparent death from Mitrane, his confidant, and is thus able to save her anguished lover from suicide....

Article

Marita P. McClymonds

Dramma per musica in three acts by Pasquale Anfossi to a libretto by Gaetano Sertor ; Venice, Teatro S Benedetto, 26 December 1789.

The libretto, by the innovative Sertor, has a different plot from that of Metastasio’ Zenobia. Publia, daughter of the Roman Emperor Gallieno, has fallen in love with Arsace, Prince of Persia, who is a prisoner of Aureliano [Aurelian], Emperor of Rome, and betrothed Zenobia, Queen of the Palmyrans. Zenobia arrives to negotiate for Arsace’s release, and Aurelian falls in love with her, but she refuses to renounce Arsace. As the Romans rout the Palmyrans, Arsace escapes from prison, joins Zenobia, and leads the Palmyrans in successful retaliation. They are recaptured, and Arsace is condemned to death; but when Zenobia threatens to follow him in death and draws a dagger, Aurelian spares him....

Article

Dramma per musica in three acts by Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni to a libretto by Antonio Marchi; Venice, Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo, Carnival 1694.

The Palmyran queen Zenobia (soprano) has been defeated by the Roman emperor Aurelian (alto) through the treachery of the governor of Palmyra, Ormonte (tenor), who hopes to wed his daughter Filidea (soprano) to the emperor. Zenobia refuses to submit to her conqueror, even when he falls in love with her and offers marriage. Furious at her resistance, Aurelian resolves to put Zenobia and her son to death, but refrains when he overhears Zenobia refuse Ormonte’s offer to assassinate him. The plot takes a historically inaccurate turn when Aurelian rewards Zenobia by restoring her to the Palmyran throne. Through Filidea’s pleas, Ormonte’s sentence of death is commuted to one of exile, and the opera ends with universal rejoicing....

Article

Graham Sadler

Acte de ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau to an anonymous libretto; no known performance in Rameau’s time.

Originally entitled ‘Les nymphes de Diane’, this was probably intended as part of an opéra-ballet, possibly the aborted Les beaux jours de l’Amour ( see Naissance d’Osiris, La ). It presents the wooing of the nymph Cloris (soprano) by the God of the West Wind, Zephirus (...

Article

Andrew Lamb

Operette in three acts by Johann Strauss to a libretto by Ignaz Schnitzer after the novel by Mór Jókai; Vienna, Theater an der Wien, 24 October 1885.

The action takes place in the mid-18th century. Sándor Barinkay (tenor) returns to his native Temesvár after 20 years’ exile due to his father’s associations with the former Turkish rulers. He has meanwhile followed a catalogue of unlikely occupations (‘Als flotter Geist’). The Royal Commissioner, Conte Carnero (baritone), calls the local pig-farmer Zsupán (tenor ...

Article

Stephen C. Fisher

Intermezzo in two acts by Rinaldo di Capua ; Paris, Opéra, 19 June 1753.

Nisa (soprano), a gypsy girl, with the connivance of her brother Tagliaborsi (tenor), tricks the old miser Calcante (bass) into parting with his purse and finally into marrying her. Tagliaborsi appears in disguise first as a bear and then as a devil. Calcante has a mute servant, Taddeo, and there is a chorus of gypsies in the finale....

Article

Andrew Lamb

Operette in three acts by Emmerich Kálmán to a libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald ; Vienna, Theater an der Wien, 26 March 1926.

At the Stanislavsky Circus in St Petersburg, the mysterious, masked ‘Mister X’ (tenor) creates a sensation with his daredevil act. In the audience is Princess Fedora Palinska (soprano), who has recently rejected the attentions of Prince Sergius Vladimir (baritone). To avenge himself the Prince hires ‘Mister X’ to pose as an aristocrat and woo and marry her. ‘Mister X’ turns out to be Baron Korosov, a young hussar officer disinherited for falling in love with his uncle’s fiancée. The latter was none other than Fedora, and the two are only too happy to be reunited. First produced with Hubert Marischka and Betty Fischer in the leading roles, the work has as its principal numbers the tenor solo ‘Zwei Märchenaugen’ and the ...

Article

Kurt Markstrom

Commedia per musica in three acts by Leonardo Vinci to a libretto by Bernardo Saddumene; Naples, Teatro dei Fiorentini, 3 January 1722.

Carlo (soprano) has deserted Belluccia (soprano) in Sorrento and run off to Naples, where he has fallen in love with Ciomma (soprano). Belluccia disguises herself as a man and goes to Naples in search of Carlo. Her disguise is so successful that both Ciomma and Meneca (tenor) fall in love with her. The ...

Article

Virko Baley

Opera-drama in four acts by Borys Mykolayovych Lyatoshyns’ky to a libretto by Yakiv Mamontov after Ivan Franko’s novel Zakhar Berkut; Odessa, 28 March 1930 (revised version, L’viv, 29 April 1970).

The opera is set in the Carpathian mountains, where the Tukholtsi live. The son Maxym (tenor) of their leader Zakhar Berkut (bass) rescues, during a hunting expedition, Myroslava (soprano), daughter of the boyar Tuhar Vovk (baritone). The two fall in love. Vovk attempts to take over some public lands and is condemned and banished by the Tukholtsi; he sides with an invading Tatar horde, but is drowned when the Tukholtsi destroy a river barrier and cause a flood. Maxym, their prisoner at the time, perishes too, but is acclaimed as a hero for sacrificing his life for his country....

Article

William Ashbrook

Melodramma eroico in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli after J.-P.-C. de Florian’s Gonsalve de Cordove, ou Grenade reconquise; Rome, Teatro Argentina, 28 January 1822 (revised version, Rome, Teatro Argentina, 7 January 1824).

The plot deals with the machinations of Almuzir (tenor) to marry Zoraide (soprano), the daughter of the king he has murdered and whose throne he has usurped. His attempts to dispose of his rival Abenamet (contralto ...

Article

Graham Sadler

Tragédie en musique in five acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto by (Jean-)Louis de Cahusac; Paris, Opéra, 5 December 1749.

* – original version only † – 1756 version only

Though produced with more than usual magnificence and a cast including Jélyotte (Zoroastre), Chassé (Abramane) and Fel (Amélite), ...

Article

Helena Havlíková

Opera in five acts by Jiří Pauer to his own libretto after Jan Bor’s play of the same name; Prague, National Theatre, 30 December 1958.

The opera, set during the years 1587–1620, deals with the love between Petr Vok (baritone), head of the powerful Rožmberk family, and the lowly country girl Zuzana (dramatic soprano). Refusing to be bound by convention, Zuzana gives Petr an heir. Vok’s wife (contralto) secretly kidnaps the child; meanwhile the situation has angered and alienated Zuzana’s former lover and betrothed, Ondrej (tenor). After Vok’s death Zuzana is driven out of the castle, but at the end of her life she sees Ondrej and her son again and finds lasting peace....

Article

Elizabeth Norman McKay

Posse in one act by Franz Schubert to a libretto by Georg von Hofmann after a French vaudeville Les deux Valentins; Vienna, Kärntnertortheater, 14 June 1820.

Schubert received this, his first theatrical commission, at the end of 1818 and completed the work in January 1819...