Virgin Prophetess, The [ The Virgin Prophetess, or The Fate of Troy ]
- Peter Holman
[ The Virgin Prophetess, or The Fate of Troy ]
Semi-opera in five acts by Gottfried Finger based on the play by Elkanah Settle; London, Drury Lane, 2 May 1701.
This was the last of Finger’s English stage works, performed shortly before he left the country for good. The virgin prophetess was Cassandra, and the work, a spoken play with music, deals with the fall of Troy; as in Purcell’s semi-operas, the main characters do not sing. Finger’s contribution consists of a suite of incidental music (London, 1701) and self-contained musical interludes in each act (in GB-Cfm and Lcm ), scored for soloists, chorus and a large orchestra including five-part strings and three trumpets. In Act 1 the Trojans celebrate ‘The Triumph of Paris’; Act 2 contains a ‘Procession Song in the Temple of Diana’, invoking the protection of the goddess; in Act 3 a masque of Cupid (soprano) celebrates Cassandra’s release by the Greeks; in Act 4 Cassandra conjures up masques to warn Paris of Troy’s fall; and in Act 5 the Trojans drink their cares away before the final catastrophe....