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date: 20 January 2020

Calliroe (‘Callirhoë’)locked

  • Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

(‘Callirhoë’)

Libretto by Mattia Verazi , first set by Antonio Sacchini (1770, Ludwigsburg).

Agricane has conquered Assyria to avenge his sister, Bicestre, whom the Assyrian heir Tarsile has scorned, and to prevent Tarsile’s marriage to Callirhoë. Believing Tarsile dead, Callirhoë poisons herself. When Tarsile appears with an army, Callirhoë’s father Arsace and brother Sidonio join him in seeking vengeance. Callirhoë wakes – she had taken only a sleeping potion – and restores peace. The author credits Giacommelli’s Italian translation of Greek stories and Lopez de Vega’s Giulietta, e Roselo as his sources. (Destouches’ opera Callirhoé of 1712 is unrelated to Verazi’s plot.)

Calliroe was Verazi’s last libretto for the Duke of Württemberg’s new French theatre at Ludwigsburg. Sacchini set it because the former resident composer, Jommelli, had returned to Italy. Typically of Verazi’s librettos, Calliroe contains lavish spectacle with chorus and pantomime, and the entr’acte ballets and the opening sinfonia are related to the opera. The initial Allegro of the programmatic sinfonia accompanies the besieging of a city wall; the Andante is a victorious march and the final Allegro, a duet with chorus, functions also as ...

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