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date: 15 October 2019

Demofoonte (opera seria by Jommelli) (‘Demophoön’)locked

  • Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

(‘Demophoön’)

Opera seria in three acts by Niccolò Jommelli to a libretto by Pietro Metastasio ( see Demofoonte ); Naples, Teatro S Carlo, 4 November 1770.

Jommelli had already written three different settings of this text: for Padua (1743), for Milan (1753), and for Stuttgart (1764; repeated with some new music in 1765). The opera for Naples (1770) was an almost entirely new setting. In the versions for Stuttgart and Naples, a new trio for Dircea [Dirce], Matusio [Mathusius] and Timante [Timanthes] (all sopranos) was added at the end of Act 1, and Metastasio’s original duet was retained to conclude Act 2. These later operas contain liberal amounts of dramatically powerful obbligato recitative, occasionally programmatic and frequently employing wind instruments. Although written only five years apart, these two versions differ in style to a remarkable degree. The setting for Naples is more intense, rhythmically complex and chromatic than the Stuttgart version. After attending a rehearsal in Naples, Charles Burney commented on the opera in his journal: ‘[It] is in a difficult style, more full of instrumental effects than vocal.Sometimes it may be thought rather ...

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