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Astianatte (‘Astyanax’)locked

  • Lowell Lindgren

Extract

Drama in three acts by Giovanni Bononcini to a libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym after Jean Racine’s play Andromaque (1667) by way of Antonio Salvi’s libretto (1701, Pratolino); London, King’s Theatre, 6 May 1727.

The child Astyanax (silent role) and his mother Andromaca [Andromache] (soprano), widow of Hector, are at the court of Pirro [Pyrrhus] (mezzo-soprano), son of Achilles. Pyrrhus loves Andromache, thus slighting and arousing the vengeful ire of Ermione [Hermione] (soprano), whom he is contracted to marry. Hermione is loved by Oreste [Orestes] (contralto), son of Agamemnon, who asks for the sacrifice of Astyanax so that he will not grow up to wreak vengeance upon Greece. Pyrrhus accedes to the request, halts the slaughter when Andromache appeals to him, then is himself wounded by Orestes, who had been spurred on by Hermione. Orestes is captured, but his friend Pilade [Pylades] (contralto) abducts Astyanax with the intention of killing him. This is prevented when Pyrrhus’s captain, Creonte (bass), exchanges Orestes for Astyanax....

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