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Masagniello [Masagniello (Masaniello) furioso [oder] Die neapolitanische Fischer-Empörung (‘Masaniello the Mad, or The Neapolitan Fisherman’s Rebellion’)]locked

  • John H. Roberts

Extract

Drama musicale in three acts by Reinhard Keiser to a libretto by Barthold Feind ; Hamburg, Theater am Gänsemarkt, June 1706; revised by Georg Philipp Telemann , Hamburg, 1727.

The libretto deals with an insurrection that took place in Naples in 1647. Masagniello (bass), a fisherman, incites the people to rebel against their Spanish rulers because of an oppressive tax. He intimidates the viceroy, the Duke of Arcos (contralto), into agreeing to his demands but finally goes mad and is shot by his own supporters. Around this essentially historical core Feind constructed a pair of amorous plots involving noble characters. Don Pedro (tenor) secretly loves Aloysia (soprano), the wife of his cousin Don Velasco (tenor), while she is torn between love for Pedro and loyalty to her husband. Arcos loves Marianne (soprano), but her heart belongs to Antonio (bass). When Antonio is arrested by the rebels she persuades his guard to let her take his place, but, once free, Antonio does nothing to obtain her release. Ransomed by Arcos, Marianne returns to discover Antonio making advances to Aloysia, leading him to attempt suicide, and Don Velasco catches Aloysia and Don Pedro in an apparently compromising situation. In the end the viceroy succeeds in reconciling Marianne with Antonio and Velasco with Aloysia, while Pedro decides to withdraw from the world. Some comic relief in this prevailingly severe drama is provided by Bassian (tenor), a fruit-seller....

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