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date: 24 February 2020

Zemiralocked

  • Marita P. McClymonds

Extract

Opera seria in three acts by Francesco Bianchi to a libretto by Gaetano Sertor ; Naples, Teatro di S Carlo, 4 November 1781 (revised version, Padua, Teatro Nuovo, fiera del santo [? 13 June], 1786).

Sarabes (tenor), principal rajah of India, refuses to give his daughter Zemira (soprano) in marriage to Akbar (soprano castrato), emperor of the Mogols. She is betrothed to Gandarte (soprano castrato), another rajah. Fearing for her father’s life, she goes to Akbar’s tent. Gandarte and Sarabes believe she has betrayed them and rush to avenge themselves. Akbar intercepts them, but Zemira draws a dagger and threatens to kill herself if her father is harmed. Akbar ultimately orders his rival to be put to death, and only after Sarabes has stabbed his own daughter does he relent, declaring that with her noble action Zemira has saved her beloved.

Unusual components in this work are the opening trio with storm music, the short duet for two men, the programmatic battle music, the extensive quartet and the stabbing. The death of Zemira is cut in Anfossi’s setting (...

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