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date: 19 November 2019

Tito Manlio (libretto by Roccaforte) (‘Titus Manlius’)locked

  • Dorothea Link

Extract

(‘Titus Manlius’)

Libretto by Gaetano Roccaforte, first set by Gennaro Manna (1742, Rome).

The libretto is based on a story found in Livy’s history of Rome, book 8. Having shared the hardships of war, the Latins, allies of the Romans, want representation in government; the Roman Senate refuses the request, whereupon the Latins declare war on the Romans. The Roman consul, Titus Manlius, commands his son Manlio [Manlius] to enter the Latin camp to determine the army’s strength, but gives him explicit orders not to engage in any fighting. In the camp Manlius is challenged to a duel by Geminio [Geminius], the Latin leader, whom he kills. Manlius returns in triumph, but his father harshly reminds him of his violated orders. To uphold the authority of the Senate and to maintain discipline in the army, Titus Manlius condemns his son to execution.

The libretto expands the story by introducing three more characters. Sabina is the sister of Manlius and Geminius’s secret lover. Lucio [Lucius] is a Latin but also a friend of Manlius, secretly in love with Sabina. Servilia, the sister of Geminius, is also Manlius’s intended wife. Manlius is sent on his mission at the end of Act 1. The encounter with Geminius takes place off stage, and Act 2 begins with Manlius’s return to Rome. In the final scene, Lucius rouses the army in support of Manlius, whereupon Titus is obliged to recognize the voice of the people and pardon his son....

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