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date: 13 December 2019

Artaserse(ii) (‘Artaxerxes’)locked

  • Sven Hansell

Extract

(‘Artaxerxes’)

Opera seria in three acts by Johann Adolf Hasse to a libretto by Pietro Metastasio ( see Artaserse above); Venice, Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo, February, 1730, with text much changed by Lalli, (Benedetto) Domenico (opera) or Giovanni Boldini (revised version, Dresden, Court Theatre, 9 September 1740; recomposed version, Naples, Teatro S Carlo, 20 January 1760 and summer 1762 with, for the most part, Metastasio’s original text).

Hasse’s first and third settings of this libretto illustrate his style when he was about to take up his duties as Kapellmeister in Dresden (1731) and again when he was about to give them up (1763). His style underwent significant change during his association with Dresden, so that little in the work of 1760 and 1762 resembles the scores of 1730 and 1740. The rhythmic variety and exciting exploitation of vocal range typical of his later arias, guaranteed the spontaneity that pleased audiences and gratified singers more and more with each decade. On the basis of musical style, it would seem that Hasse viewed Arbaces, his father and his sister as commoners (if this were an accepted interpretation of the libretto, that would help explain its exceptional popularity in the later 18th century)....

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Milan, Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Verdi, Biblioteca