Alternative title [secondary title]
The tradition of giving dramatic works alternative titles is an old one, belonging initially to spoken theatrical works. Most Shakespeare plays have alternative titles. Normally, the ‘alternative title’ is not a genuine alternative but is intended to be read alongside the principal title and to elucidate it or elaborate upon it. Examples are Campra’s Aréthuse, ou La vengeance de l’Amour (1701); Arne’s Thomas and Sally, or The Sailor’s Return (1760); Mozart’s Il dissoluto punito, ossia Il Don Giovanni (1787) and his Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (1790); Rossini’s Almaviva, ossia L’inutile precauzione (better known as Il barbiere di Siviglia, 1816) and Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia (1816); Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot, oder Die Novize von Palermo (1836); and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, or The Lass that Loved a Sailor (1878).
True alternative titles may also be found, particularly in the 18th century, when an opera was revised for a later performance. Cimarosa’s ...