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date: 01 June 2020

Xerse(ii) (‘Xerxes’)locked

  • Lowell Lindgren

Extract

(‘Xerxes’)

Dramma per musica in three acts by Giovanni Bononcini to a libretto by Silvio Stampiglia after Count Nicolò Minato ’s libretto (Venice, 1654); Rome, Teatro di Tordinona, 25 January 1694.

Minato is still named as librettist on the title-page of the 1694 edition, and Stampiglia did retain his plot. King Xerxes (soprano) falls in love with Romilda (soprano), who loves and is loved by his brother Arsamene (contralto). Her sister Adelanta (soprano) also loves Arsamene, and tries to obtain him by various ruses. Princess Amastre (contralto), who loves Xerxes even though he abandoned her, comes to the court disguised as a warrior. These five young lovers are joined by three of an older generation (contralto, tenor and bass) and two comic servants (soprano and tenor). Misunderstood orders and a misdirected letter set the plot spinning comically out of control until the very end, when Xerxes is finally reunited with Amastre and accepts the marriage of Arsamene to Romilda....

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