Alessandro Severo(i) (‘Alexander Severus’)
- Harris S. Saunders
Dramma per musica in three acts by Antonio Lotti to a libretto by Apostolo Zeno ; Venice, Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo, Carnival 1717.
The plot is based loosely on Roman history. Giulia Mammea [Julia Mamaea] (soprano), mother of the emperor Alexander Severus (soprano castrato), desires to retain power as she did throughout her son’s reign (222–35). According to historical record, she succeeded in banishing her son’s wife Sallustia (soprano) and father-in-law after the latter’s foiled conspiracy against the emperor. But in the opera Sallustia selflessly offers her own life in order to save Julia Mamaea from the conspirators; overcome by the magnanimity of her gesture, Julia Mamaea is reconciled to Sallustia. A completely ahistorical subplot involves Albina (contralto), dressed as a man, testing the fidelity of her lover Claudio [Claudius] (soprano castrato)....