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date: 28 January 2020

Bellerophonlocked

  • Lois Rosow
  •  and Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

Libretto subject favoured in the 17th and 18th centuries. Bellerophon, who loves (and is loved by) Philonoë, rejects the advances of Stheneboea (or Anteia), wife of King Proteus of Argos; she causes a monster, the Chimaera, to be unleashed on the kingdom, but Bellerophon kills it, secures Philonoë’s hand and turns out to be the son of Neptune.

The earliest setting is that of Sacrati, to a text by Vincenzo Nolfi, as Bellerofonte (1642, Venice). Lully set it for the Opéra in 1679, using a libretto by Thomas Corneille with Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle (after Hesiod’s Theogony); here the various magical incantations and other supernatural events provide an excuse for the extensive use of the chorus coupled with dramatic symphonies. Among later settings are one by Graupner to a text by Feind (1708, Hamburg), by Terradellas to a text by Vanneschi (1747, London), by Araia to a text by Bonecchi (...

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