Catone in Utica(iii) (‘Cato in Utica’)
- Paul Corneilson
(‘Cato in Utica’)
Dramma per musica in three acts by Niccolò Piccinni (see Piccinni family (opera) §(1)) to a libretto by Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro (opera); Mannheim, Hoftheater, 5 November 1770.
Piccinni’s setting follows the second version of Metastasio’s text (see Catone in Utica above), in which the suicide of Cato (tenor) takes place offstage. The opera may have been written for Naples, but no libretto has survived, and Burney, who visited Piccinni in October 1770, did not mention a performance of the work. Anton Raaff apparently took a manuscript score with him to Mannheim, where he sang the title role in his local début. The autograph score (in D-Mbs) includes several changes in the hands of Mannheim copyists, the most significant being an alternative aria by Sacchini, ‘Ovunque m’aggiri sol veggio perigli’ (2.ix). Piccinni set 16 of Metastasio’s 26 original aria texts, along with four additional arias, possibly provided by Verazi, the Mannheim court poet. Some of the textual changes follow J. C. Bach’s setting (...