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date: 23 October 2019

Castore e Polluce(i) (‘Castor and Pollux’)locked

  • Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

(‘Castor and Pollux’)

Opera seria in three acts by Francesco Bianchi to a libretto by Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni after Pierre-Joseph Bernard ’s Castor et Pollux; Florence, Teatro della Pergola, 8 September 1779.

Newly returned from four years in Paris, Bianchi must have seemed particularly well-qualified to compose a new setting of Frugoni’s translation originally prepared for a revival of Rameau’s opera for Parma in 1758 and set in 1760 by Traetta: see Tindaridi, I . French-inspired pieces were seldom done in Italy, and Bianchi’s was the first such production in Florence since a revival of Traetta’s opera ten years earlier. The plot centres on twin magnanimous deeds: Pollux (soprano castrato) replaces his dead half-brother Castor (soprano castrato) in the underworld so that Castor can be reunited with Telaira (soprano), a union Febe [Phoebe] (soprano) plans to disrupt; after a tender meeting, Castor asks to return so that Pollux may be freed, and Jupiter (tenor) rewards all three by reuniting them in heaven. ...

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