Tito Manlio ( by Vivaldi) (‘Titus Manlius’)
- Eric Cross
Dramma per musica in three acts, rv738, by Antonio Vivaldi to a libretto by Matteo Noris ; Mantua, Teatro Arciducale ‘detto il Comico’, Carnival 1719.
The libretto was first set by C. F. Pollarolo for Florence in 1696. The Roman consul Titus Manlius (bass) swears an oath of hatred against the rebellious Latins; he is followed in this by his son Manlio [Manlius] (soprano), the captain Decio [Decius] (contralto), and even the Latin knight Lucio [Lucius] (soprano), since he is in love with Titus’s daughter Vitellia (contralto). Vitellia refuses to swear the oath, however, for she is in love with the Latin captain Geminio [Geminius] (tenor). Sent to spy on the enemy camp, Manlius encounters Geminius; he is provoked by Geminius and, ignoring his father’s express orders not to engage in armed combat, he fights and kills his opponent. When Titus hears of his son’s disobedience, he sentences him to death, despite the pleas of Manlius’s betrothed, Servilia (contralto), Geminius’s sister. Lucius offers to free Manlius, who is not prepared to betray Rome even for his own safety. However, Decius and his forces arrive to rescue him, father and son are reunited, and the hostilities between Romans and Latins cease....