Attilio Regolo (opera seria by Hasse) (‘Attilius Regulus’)
- Sven Hansell
Opera seria in three acts by Johann Adolf Hasse to a libretto by Pietro Metastasio ( see Attilio Regolo (libretto by Metastasio) above) after the historical writings of Silicus Italicus, Punica vi and passages of Horace and Cicero; Dresden, Hoftheater, 12 January 1750.
The libretto almost wholly lacks dramatic development or significant incidents, though two events are worthy of notice. Barce (soprano), the slave in the house of Pubblio [Publius] (soprano), is given her freedom to return to Africa with her former lover, Amilcare [Hamilcar] (soprano); and the mayor of Rome, Manlius (tenor), accepts the arguments of Regolo [Regulus] (contralto) in Act 2 scene ii, the scene Metastasio said he liked most (letter of 20 October 1749 to Hasse). A sinfonia (1.vii) and the very long orchestrally accompanied recitatives for Regulus (in 1.ii, vii, 2.vii and the last scene of the work) conform closely to the instructions Metastasio sent Hasse. The entire score is a tour de force involving richly varied melodic invention and the use of different keys, major and minor, to depict fluctuating states of mind. Since Hasse was the first to set the libretto, not a single word was left out; this was the first of a series of librettos by Metastasio that Hasse was the first to set. At the opera’s première Hasse’s wife Faustina Bordoni sang Attilia and the alto castrato Domenico Annibali sang the title role....