- Don Neville
Libretto by pietro Metastasio, first set by Nicola Porpora (1728, Venice).
Act 1 Aetius returns to Rome in triumph after his victory over Attila. The Emperor Valentiniano [Valentinian] III (reigned 425–55), though grateful to his returning general, resents the celebrity being accorded him. To Massimo [Maximus], his confidant, the emperor speaks of Fulvia, Maximus’s daughter, whom he loves. Although aware of the love between Fulvia and Aetius, Maximus, instead of enlightening Valentinian, encourages his suit; secretly an enemy of the emperor, Maximus proposes to use this marriage to gain control over the throne. Since Aetius is the throne’s protector, Maximus is glad to place enmity between him and the emperor by telling him of Valentinian’s intentions towards Fulvia. Informed by her father of his plans, Fulvia is repelled by his proposed treachery against Aetius, Valentinian and herself, but filial duty compels her silence. The emperor offers Aetius the hand of his sister, Onoria [Honoria], in recognition of his military achievements; Aetius asks instead for Fulvia, only to learn from Honoria that Valentinian plans to wed her himself the following day. Honoria, secretly in love with Aetius, is astonished by his violent threats against her brother, and she and Fulvia express their suspicions of each other’s affections for Aetius....