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Article

Marita P. McClymonds

Paisiello. This libretto enjoyed more Italian productions than any other of Verazi’s librettos for Germany: Giacomo Rust ( 1776 , Padua), Mysliveček ( 1778 , Naples; 1779 , Pisa), Felice Alessandri ( 1778 , Milan) and Sebastiano Nasolini ( 1792 , Florence). All show extensive revision. Mysliveček’s is an ‘aria’ opera with a duet closing Act 2, and retains only the battle scene in Act 3. Rust’s and Nasolini’s versions retain the sinfonia- introduzione and the concluding action finale. Alessandri and Rust move the ‘death’ trio from Act 3 to the end of Act 2. The Florentine

Article

Marita P. McClymonds

solo with chorus. The opera also includes an aria with choral interpolations, then a novel construction. In the same year a revised version of Prati’s setting was given in Venice, the matricide still intact; Emperor Leopold II, Archduke of Tuscany at the time of the Florence première in 1786 , chose Prati’s opera to initiate his efforts to re-establish opera seria in Vienna. Simeone Sografi’s libretto for Sebastiano Nasolini, La morte di Semiramide ( 1790 , Padua), also set by G. B. Borghi ( 1791 , Milan), was one of several ‘la morte’ operas of the period. It tempers

Article

Patrick O’Connor

Mahagonny (the score of which contains Brecht’s detailed stage directions which themselves amount to a production book) all hark back to the first stagings of the works. Since the rise of the conception of the director as interpreter, wishing to stage operas according to his or her own view of their meaning, the role of the published production book has diminished. Since very little detailed, descriptive dramatic criticism exists for many early operas, such sets of instructions, where they survive, are invaluable for giving an idea of how the creators of a work envisaged

Article

Don Neville

the chorus into the opera at Naples with revivals of this opera and Olimpiade in 1742–3 . At the time that Jommelli went to Venice to prepare his 1749 setting of the text, Metastasio wrote to Farinelli that he found in Jommelli’s work ‘all the harmony of Hasse, with all the grace, expression and invention of Vinci’. Two years later, after seeing sections of Hasse’s score for Dresden ( 1751 ), and hearing reports about the work, the poet expressed his admiration for Hasse’s ability always to surpass his previous efforts. It was in this opera of Hasse that his wife

Article

Paul Corneilson

than 50 dramatic works based on this story; in some productions the ancient Egyptian setting has inspired exotic scenery and spectacle. Almost all end with the death of Cleopatra; in this respect the subject stands firmly in the tradition of operas with tragic heroines, such as Dido and Ariadne. See also Antony and Cleopatra [Barber]; Cleopatra [Mattheson]; and Cleopatra [Anfossi]. For a list of operas based on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra , see Shakespeare, William .

Article

Faust  

F.W. Sternfeld

any final redemption: Mephistopheles drags Faust to hell, a conclusion reminiscent of the folk legend. The opera, with its clever motivic work, is not without its merits, as Weber noted in a perceptive essay of 1816 . Gounod’s Faust ( 1859 ) was originally conceived, for the Théâtre Lyrique, with spoken dialogue; when it was transferred to the Opéra it was fitted with recitatives and a ballet, in which form it became the most popular of all Faust operas. It has been much criticized (notably by Wagner and Debussy) but sections have won praise (notably from Berlioz)

Article

Don Neville

harassment of his daughter, Hypsipyle. When Hypsipyle vows to murder her father to satisfy Eurynome, she secretly plans to warn him not to land, but is too late. Thoas is surprised at his daughter’s cool public greeting, but she explains all privately when she bids him hide in the sacred grove of the goddess Diana. Act 2 Unknown to all, Learchus has returned with a band of pirates and, unrecognized, tells Thoas to flee the grove for his daughter’s sake. Masquerading as Thoas, Learchus plans to seize Hypsipyle and leave Lemnos. Meanwhile, Hypsipyle sacrifices another

Article

Don Neville

trilogy, but of this work, only the first play, The Suppliant Women , remains. Prior to Metastasio’s drama, Théodore de Gombauld’s Les Danaïdes ( 1644 ), Gaspard Abeille’s Lyncée ( 1678 ) and Théodore de Riupeirous’ Hypermnestre ( 1704 ) were all based upon this story, as were Giovanni Moniglia’s libretto for Cavalli’s opera Hipermestra ( 1658 , Florence) and Antonio Salvi’s text for Giacomelli’s Ipermestra ( 1724 , Venice). Of the contemporary sources, however, Metastasio’s plot has its closest parallels with Joseph de Lafont’s livret for Charles-Hubert Gervais’

Article

Don Neville

and its female counterpart, Nitteti , both well known in 1771 . This plot repetition, coupled with a musical setting with extensive recitative by such a veteran composer as Hasse (his last opera), may have contributed to the outmoded quality sensed by Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart. A second setting of Ruggiero was composed by Antonio Gandini in the 1820s, and a one-act opera by Samuel Holmes ( 1838 ) also appears to have been based on this text.

Article

Tim Carter

‘the imperious Manner in which Love insinuates its Impressions into the Hearts of Persons of all Ranks; and likewise how a wise Man should be ever ready with his best Endeavours to re-conduct into the right Way, those who have been misguided from it by the Illusion of their Passions’. See also Medoro [Lucio]; Orlando [Vivaldi]; Orlando [Handel]; Orlando paladino [Haydn]; Roland [Lully]; and Roland [Piccinni]. For a list of operas based on Ariosto’ s Orlando furioso see Ludovico Ariosto .

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Don Neville

composers as Cimarosa, Galuppi, Perez and Sacchini. For Madrid ( 1751 ), Conforto set Le cinese , an early azione teatrale by Metastasio, under the title La festa cinese ; this, with versions of Siroe ( 1752 ) and L’eroe cinese ( 1754 ), secured him an appointment to compose operas for the Spanish court. For a list of settings see Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro .

Article

Dale E. Monson

source is Roman history as related in Florus, Appian of Alexandria and others; many librettos relied on Jean Racine ’s Mithridate ( 1673 ), a work favoured by Louis XIV. Mithridates VI, King of Pontus (called ‘the Great’, 120–63 bc ), was a popular subject in 18th-century operas. His conquests of Asia and wars against Rome, and particularly his despotic cruelty and sensuality, were usually condensed into a single cataclysmic event. Two sons of Mithridates, Pharnaces and Xiphares, hearing a false report of Mithridates’ death, seek the hand of Mithridates’

Article

Princess Irene of Trebizond wants to break off her engagement to Tamerlane but is compelled by love to dissemble and wait. Eventually Asteria, Andronicus and Bajazet defy Tamerlane who, enraged, condemns all three, creating a dramatic impasse which is resolved only by Bajazet’s suicide. Piovene’s Tamerlano shows marked similarities with another Gasparini opera: his setting of Silvani’s La fede tradita e vendicata ( 1704 ). Both appear to contain political allegories based on events in the War of Spanish Succession, with the defeated but haughty monarch representing

Article

Don Neville

), Cato’s death is simply reported, and all that remains of the acquedotti antichi of the secret pathway scene is the entrance, to which a fountain of Isis and its surrounding trees create a visual diversion. Metastasio clearly regarded both versions of this drama as authentic, although most composers preferred the revision. In a setting by Giovanni Ferrandini, Catone in Utica opened the Cuvilliés theatre in Munich in 1753 , and for J. C. Bach his setting for Naples ( 1761 ) was to become his most widely performed opera. For a list of settings see Metastasio

Article

Dale E. Monson

Epirus where he is king, and of her bearing his son, Molossus. Pyrrhus later deserts her for Helen’s daughter, Hermione, but Orestes, consumed with jealousy for Hermione, kills him. Andromache marries Helenus, Hector’s brother. Two famous dramas on this epic preceded the several opera librettos of the 18th century: the Andromache of Euripides and Jean Racine ’s Andromaque ( 1667 ), both of which addressed the stormy and wanton actions of Pyrrhus, although to different ends. Racine’s play set the tone for operatic productions, establishing variations that

Article

Joseph, soon to be Joseph II of Austria. A late libretto for Metastasio, Il trionfo di Clelia did not prove popular, even though Hasse’s initial setting was well received. So also was Jommelli’s version for Lisbon in 1774 . Gluck, the first to set the text after Hasse, wrote his opera for the opening of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna in 1763 . For a list of settings see Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro .

Article

Bryan Martin

but she is discovered by the Neapolitan impresario Colagianni; after much scheming on both sides, Lamberto prevails. Frank Walker (‘Orazio: the History of a Pasticcio’, MQ , xxxviii, 1952 , pp.369–83) recorded 21 revivals of Orazio , all over Europe, for the period 1740–58 . Auletta’s music slowly disappeared as the opera travelled, six numbers surviving with some consistency. Additions included numbers by Pergolesi, Jommelli, Leo, Alessandro Maccari, Michele Fini and others. The subplot involving Lamberto, Colagianni and Lauretta was presented separately as

Article

1725 ) and Metastasio, all with different but equally complex plots. Metastasio’s Semiramide , with fewer than 40 settings, fell short in popularity of such other early librettos as Artaserse and Alessandro nell’Indie . This may be partly explained by the rivalry of Silvani’s text and others that were to draw on Voltaire’s drama, such as Giovannini’ s Vendetta di Nino, La , Sografi’s La morte di Semiramide and, ultimately, Rossi’s Semiramide for Rossini. Gluck made his operatic début in Vienna with the first mounting of an opera on the subject in that city

Article

Don Neville

paired during the 1760s, and in 1770 , Gabrielli sang with Gasparo Pacchierotti in a pasticcio version at Palermo. Giovanni Carestini, Farinelli and Senesino were all to play Alcestes, and to this list can be added Venanzio Rauzzini, Alcestes for the première of Bernasconi’s setting ( 1772 , Munich). Bianchi’s setting ( 1774 , rev. 1780 ) includes an early example of an action-ensemble finale in a senous opera. For a list of settings see Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro .

Article

practices with which Metastasio had to contend. Although clearly aware of the foibles of contemporary serious opera and its performance at this the outset of his career, Metastasio was to achieve certain reforms while working from within the genre itself, not as an overt antagonist. His letters reveal lifelong complaints about the mistreatment of his librettos by composers, singers and theatre directors. There appear to be six settings of L’impresario delle Canarie , all written between 1724 and 1744 , the most popular being Leo’s ( 1741 ). As this was one of four written