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date: 18 January 2020

Teofane (‘Theophano’)locked

  • Harris S. Saunders

Extract

(‘Theophano’)

Dramma per musica in three acts by Antonio Lotti to a libretto by Stefano Benedetto Pallavicino ; Dresden, Neues Opernhaus, 13 September 1719.

Teofane was performed to celebrate the wedding of the Prince Elector Friedrich August II of Saxony to the Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria. The plot, loosely based on history, was especially appropriate for the occasion, since it deals with the wedding of a prominent Saxon ruler, Ottone II (alto castrato) (Holy Roman Emperor, 973–83), to an emperor’s daughter, the Byzantine princess Teofane (soprano). Names and relationships were changed and events were transposed and conflated. Teofane, believing she is being led to her betrothed, falls into the hands of Adelberto (soprano castrato) and his mother Gismonda (soprano), who hope to gain control over Italy. The Greek prince Isauro (tenor) also declares his love for Teofane. Emireno (bass), Teofane’s brother, lives the life of a pirate while in exile from Constantinople. Eventually Ottone wins his bride; Adelberto is re-united with his betrothed, Matilda (contralto), Ottone’s cousin; and all are reconciled. The opera consists of 34 arias and two duets; each act ends with a spectacular allegorical scene with ballet....

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