Demofoonte (libretto by Metastasion) (‘Demophoön’)
- Don Neville
Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Antonio Caldara (1733, Vienna). Versions of the libretto were also set as Demofoonte, rè di Tracia, Démophon, Demophontes, Dirce and L’usurpatore innocente.
It has been decreed in Thrace that, until such time as one who would unknowingly usurp the throne has been identified, a virgin of noble birth must be sacrificed each year to Apollo. Demophoön, King of Thrace, aware that the death penalty threatens anyone not of royal birth who weds the heir to the throne, has arranged for the union of his son, Timante [Timanthes], with Creusa, Princess of Phrygia. Timanthes, however, has secretly married Dircea [Dirce], daughter of the noble Matusio [Mathusius], and by her has a son. Creusa arrives, accompanied by Timanthes’ younger brother, Cherinto [Cherinthus], who has fallen in love with her. Timanthes begs Creusa to reject him. Offended, she orders Cherinthus to avenge her by killing his brother. Demophoön, meanwhile, has named Dirce as the next sacrificial victim in defiance of a plea from Mathusius to have her exempted. A warning from Mathusius comes too late and Dirce is imprisoned....