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date: 24 February 2020

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

  • Paul Corneilson

Extract

(‘Castor and Pollux’)

Tragedia lirica in three acts by Georg Joseph Vogler to a libretto adapted from one by Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni after Pierre-Joseph Bernard ’s Castor et Pollux; Munich, Residenztheater, 12 January 1787.

Written for the court of Elector Carl Theodor, Castore e Polluce, like Mozart’s Idomeneo, is modelled on a French tragédie lyrique. Vogler compressed the original five-act play into three acts, reduced the dialogue and made minor changes for the singers. But the opera retains much of the original spectacle, combining lavish scenes of dancing and choral singing with lyrical scenas and arias typical of opera seria. In order to maintain musical and dramatic continuity, Vogler set most of the dialogue as obbligato recitative. Self-contained numbers alternate freely with ensembles and choruses.

The first production featured Michael Bologna (soprano castrato, Pollux), Vincenzo dal Prato (soprano castrato, Castor), Teresa Buschietti (Phoebe), Margarethe Marchand (soprano, Telaira), J. B. Zonca (bass, Jupiter) and Franz Hartig (tenor, Mercury). Vogler took advantage of the virtuoso musicians at Munich by writing a dynamic orchestral score. It became a local custom for his chorus of Furies to be incorporated into the damnation scene of Mozart’s ...

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