01 Oct 2006

VIVALDI: Tito Manlio

Tito Manlio (Titus Manlius), dramma per musica in 3 acts. Music composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) based on a libretto by Matteo Noris (? – 1714).

First Performance: 20 February 1719(?), Teatro Arciducale, Mantua.

Principal Characters:
Tito Manlio, Consul of RomeBass
Vitellia, lover of GeminioContralto
Manlio, lover of Servilia and son of Tito ManlioSoprano
Lucio, the Latin lover of VitelliaMezzo Soprano
Decio, Captain of the FalangiMezzo Soprano
Lindo, servant to VitelliaBass
Geminio, Captain of the Latins and lover of VitelliaTenor
Servilia, sister of Geminio and fiancée of ManlioMezzo Soprano


Here we present Antonio Vivaldi's Tito Manlio (RV 738-A), as performed under the direction of Ottavio Dantone and released by Naïve as part of its Vivaldi Collection. The libretto to Tito Manlio was written by Matteo Noris in 1696 for performance at the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici’s theater at his villa in Pratolino. The music was composed by Carlo Pollarola, which was performed in Venice for several consecutive seasons. Thus, when Vivaldi took up the libretto in 1719, it had been in circulation for more than 20 years.

The source of the libretto is from Book VIII of Livy's The History of Rome. Noris, however, takes considerable license in departing from the facts and, indeed, the underlying rhetorical point presented in Livy's account.

Two essays are presented on this work. The first is by Professor Beth Glixon entitled "Pratolino, Venice, Mantua: Musings on Vivaldi’s Tito Manlio (1718/19)," which, among other things, compares the setting by Pollarola with that of Vivaldi. The second is by Professor Andrew Dell'Antonio entitled "Pairing and Elaboration," which looks at the manner in which Vivaldi "implements by musical means the dramatic coupling of the two female roles in the libretto."



Titus Manlius is engaged in war with the people of Latium. Conflicts of love and duty arise, with his daughter Vitellia in love with the Latin commander Geminius, but loved by the Latin Lucius. Manlius, the son of Titus, kills Geminius, disobeying his father, and is condemned to death, in spite of the pleas of his beloved Servilia, sister of Geminius. He rejects the offer of Lucius to free him. There is eventual reconciliation between father and son.

[Synopsis Source: Naxos.com]