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date: 29 March 2020

Argonauti in Colco, Gli [Gli Argonauti in Colco, o sia La conquista del vello d’oro (‘The Argonauts in Colchis, or the Conquest of the Golden Fleece’)]locked

  • Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

[Gli Argonauti in Colco, o sia La conquista del vello d’oro (‘The Argonauts in Colchis, or the Conquest of the Golden Fleece’)]

Opera seria in three acts by Giuseppe Gazzaniga to a libretto by Simeone Antonio Sografi ; Venice, Teatro S Samuele, Carnival 1790.

Eeta [Aeetes] (tenor), King of Colchis, welcomes Giasone [Jason] (tenor) and the Argonauts. The high priestess Medea (soprano), daughter of Aeetes, warns Jason of danger: another stranger, Frisso [Phrixus], husband of her sister Calciope [Chalciope] (soprano), has already been killed by monsters leaving four children, among them Argo (soprano castrato). Jason resolves to earn the golden fleece by battling with the monsters and succeeds with Medea’s help; Phrixus’s ghost (bass) appears in the midst of the rejoicing to demand revenge. Aeetes condemns Medea to be sacrificed, but Jason returns to save her, and she and Chalciope set sail with Jason, Argo and the Argonauts, leaving Aeetes alone on shore.

This is the first of Sografi’s innovative librettos in which departures from the strict delineations between recitative and formal set pieces allow a free interplay of textural options – solo, ensemble, and chorus. Sografi goes a step beyond such constructions as the multi-sectional action ensemble or the scene complex, which were often unified with obbligato recitative. The procedures pioneered here led after ...

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