Catone in Utica (‘Cato in Utica’)
- Don Neville
(‘Cato in Utica’)
Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Leonardo Vinci (1728, Rome).
Cesare [Caesar] is preparing to attack Utica. Cato, ruler of Utica and Caesar’s last opponent after the murder of Pompey, wants his daughter, Marzia [Marcia], to marry his ally, Arbace [Arbaces], Prince of Numidia. Marcia, secretly in love with Caesar, persuades Arbaces not to mention the subject of marriage. Cato receives Caesar and Fulvio [Fulvius] who arrive unarmed with a bid for peace. Emilia, Pompey’s widow, suspects treachery and rails against Caesar. Fulvius, Caesar’s ally, expresses his love for Emilia, who demands that he murder Caesar before speaking to her of love. Caesar, at first spurned by Marcia, convinces her of his honourable intentions. Emilia is quick to counter such notions, suspecting Marcia’s feelings for Caesar.
Cato rejects a demand from the Senate for a reconciliation with Caesar, but agrees to meet him. Caesar offers to divide the empire with Cato, but the latter, unmoved, insists that Caesar surrender his dictatorial powers. Caesar refuses, and Marcia’s pleas are unable to subdue his impulse for war, while her confession to Cato of her love for Caesar only heightens her father’s anger. Arbaces feels his love for Marcia betrayed, and Emilia seizes this opportunity to try to lure him into an assassination attempt on Caesar....