- Martha Novak Clinkscale
Drama per musica in a prologue and three acts by Francesco Cavalli to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini after Ovid Metamorphoses (book 2); Venice, Teatro S Apollinare, 28 November 1651.
Giove [Jupiter] (bass) has descended from Olympus to re-establish the world after the devastation of recent war. He quickly forgets his noble mission when he sees the nymph Callisto (soprano) and falls in love with her. But Callisto, a follower of the goddess Diana (soprano), has taken a vow of chastity. She is determined to resist Jupiter’s advances. Mercurio [Mercury] (tenor) persuades Jupiter to transform himself into Diana. Thus Jupiter succeeds in luring the naive and foolish Callisto into his arms instead of those of her adored goddess. Meanwhile Diana longs for the shepherd Endimione [Endymion] (contralto). Callisto approaches and implores Diana for more kisses. The goddess becomes incensed at this betrayal of her chaste ideals and expels Callisto from her charmed circle. With self-righteous nonchalance, Diana resumes her intensive dalliance with Endymion....