10 Feb 2008
MARTÍN Y SOLER: Andromaca
Andromaca: Dramma per musica in three acts.
Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.
Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.
Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.
Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.
“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .
This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.
Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Der Sturm: Opera in three acts
Andromaca: Dramma per musica in three acts.
Music composed by Vicente Martín y Soler. Libretto adapted from Andromaca by Apostolo Zeno and Andromaque by Jean Racine.
First Performance: 26 December 1780, Teatro Regio di Torino, Turin
|Zeno’s [Racine’s] Principal Characters:|
|Pirro [Pyrrhus], son of Achille, King of Epirus (Ipiros) and lover of Andromaca|
|Andromaca [Andromaque], widow of Ettore, Trojan princess and slave of Pirro|
|Astianatte [Astyanax], adolescent son of Andromaca|
|Telemaco, adolescent son of Ulisse raised by Andromaca under the name of Astianatte|
|Ulisse, King of Itaca and Greek ambassador|
|Ermione [Hermione], daughter of Melelao (King of Sparta) and Helen, promised to Pirro and lover of Oreste|
|Eleno, prince of the royal Trojan blood and secret lover of Andromaca|
|Oreste [Orestes], son of Agamennone (King of Argo) and lover of Ermione|
|Eumeo [Phoenix?], tutor of Telemaco and confidante of Ulisse|
|[Pylade], friend of Oreste|
|[Cléone], confidante of Ermione|
Setting: Troy after its fall to the Greeks
According to the Argomento to his libretto, Zeno explained that this work is as amalgam of Andromaca of Euripides and Racine and of the Troadis (Troades (The Trojan Women)) by Euripides and Seneca. Although none of the characters are of his own invention, Zeno asserts that he has woven them together in an authentic manner.
At the end of the Trojan war Andromaca [Andromaque], Ettore’s [Hector’s] faithful widow, her son Astianatte [Astyanax] and his ‘brother’ Telemaco [Telemachus in The Odyssey], Ulisse’s [Ulysses’] child, whom she had abducted and raised as her own, are held captive by Pirro [Pyrrhus] (soprano), King of Epirus, who desires Andromaca although she rejects his love. She fears for the life of Astianatte, whom the Greeks regard as heir to Ettore’s strength. The Spartan princess Ermione [Hermione], betrothed to Pirro [Pyrrhus], is overcome with jealousy at her lover’s betrayal, and wants to eliminate her rival. Ulisse [Ulysses (or Odysseus)] comes to press Pirro into honouring his commitment to Ermione, to punish Andromaca for the abduction and murder (he thinks) of his son, and to kill Astianatte. Protected by Pirro, Andromaca hides the boys in Ettore’s tomb. When Ulisse discovers them, she reveals that one of them is his son. After Ermione identifies Telemaco, and Astianatte is taken to be executed, Pirro commands that Telemaco too must die. Ulisse then relents and their lives are spared. Pirro, hearing that Andromaca would kill herself if forced to be his wife, accepts Ermione.
Many thanks to Carlo Vitali for his helpful comments.