is an 18th-century Italian opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...
in 3 acts by the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček
Josef Mysliveček was a Czech composer who contributed to the formation of late eighteenth-century classicism in music...
. It was composed to a libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...
by the Italian poet Antonio Maria Lucchini
Antonio Maria Lucchini or Luchini was an Italian librettist. His texts were set to music by Antonio Vivaldi, Baldassare Galuppi, Leonardo Vinci, and Rinaldo di Capua, among others.-Libretti:...
that is best known from a setting by Antonio Vivaldi
Farnace , is the title of several 18th-century operas set to various librettos. The earliest version was written by Lorenzo Morari with music by Antonio Caldara, first performed at the Teatro Sant'Angelo in Venice in 1703...
first produced at the Teatro Sant'Angelo in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...
for the carnival operatic season of 1727. For a performance in the 1760s, it would only be expected that a libretto of such age would be abbreviated and altered to suit contemporary operatic taste; this libretto was unusually old, even older than all but one of the librettos by Metastasio
Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Metastasio, was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.-Early life:...
that continued by be set in the 1760s. The cuts and changes in the text made for the 1767 performance of Mysliveček's opera are not attributable. Indeed, they are quite extensive; not a single one of Lucchini's original aria texts was re-set by Mysliveček.
The opera was first performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...
on 4 November 1767, the nameday of king Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...
, the former ruler of the Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...
whose birthday and nameday were still celebrated with operatic productions under the rule of his son Ferdinand
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...
. It was commissioned in the wake of the success of the composer's opera Il Bellerofonte
Il Bellerofonte is an 18th-century Italian opera in three acts by the Czech composer Josef Mysliveček. It conforms to the serious type that was typically set in the distant past. The libretto, based on the Greek legend of Bellerophon, was written by Giuseppe Bonecchi...
, which had been given earlier the same year, and is known to have been successful, in spite of a less distinguihed. It was repeated in Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...
in December 1768 after the composer's triumphant return to his native city.
||Premiere cast, 4 November 1767, Teatro San Carlo, Naples
|Farnace, King of Pontus
A soprano is a voice type with a vocal range from approximately middle C to "high A" in choral music, or to "soprano C" or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody...
A castrato is a man with a singing voice equivalent to that of a soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto voice produced either by castration of the singer before puberty or one who, because of an endocrinological condition, never reaches sexual maturity.Castration before puberty prevents a boy's...
|Tamiri, Queen of Pontus, wife of Farnace
||Antonia Maria Girelli Aguilar
|Selinda, sister of Farnace
|Atridate, prefect of the Roman legions
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...
|Pompeo, Roman pro-consul in Asia
|Gilade, prince of the blood and captain of the armies of Atridate
18th-century Italian operas in serious style are almost always set in a distant or legendary past and are built around historical, pseudo-historical, or mythological characters. The main character of Lucchini's Farnace
is based on the life of king Pharnaces II of Pontus
Pharnaces II of Pontus, also known as Pharnaces II was a prince, then King of Pontus and the Bosporan until his death. He was a monarch of Persian and Greek Macedonian ancestry. Pharnaces II was the youngest son and child born to King Mithridates VI of Pontus from his first wife, his sister Queen...
, a ruler in Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...
during the 1st century BC. whose conflicts with the Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...
eventually led to his death. Lucchini's drama portrays Farnace's defeat in battle. In order to avoid seeing his entire family falling into the hands of the enemy, Farnace commands his wife Tamiri to kill their son and then herself, although this never happens. Selinda, Farnace's sister, is taken captive by the Roman Atridate, who falls in love with her, as does the army captain Gilades. Selinda plays them off one another in an attempt to save her brother. Her efforts succeed and everyone is spared.
Vocal Set Pieces
Act I, scene 2 - Aria of Pompeo, "Accendi il tuo furore"
Act I, scene 3 - Aria of Atridate, "Non rammentarmi al core"
Act I, scene 4 - Aria of Farnace, "Ti parli in seno amore"
Act I, scene 5 - Aria of Tamiri, "Figlio, sposo, ah già nel petto"
Act I, scene 9 - Aria of Selinda, "Dai rai d'un bel sembiante"
Act I, scene 14 - Aria of Farnace, "Se parto, ben mio"
Act I, scene 15 - Accompanied recitative for Tamiri, "Sarete paghi, o Dei!"
Act I, scene 15 - Aria of Tamiri, "Non sdegnarti, o sposo amato"
Act II, scene 2 - Aria of Selinda, "Non mi spaventa quel tuo furore"
Act II, scene 3 - Aria of Atridate, "Del mio paterno affetto"
Act II, scene 4 - Aria of Gilade, "Nel suo leggiadro viso"
Act II, scene 5 - Aria of Farnace, "Figlio, mi sento, o Dio"
Act II, scene 8 - Aria of Tamiri, "Se delirar mi fate"
Act II, scene 9 - Aria of Pompeo, "Sol pugnando in mezzo all'armi"
Act II, scene 11 - Aria of Farnace, "Se asperso il suol rimira"
Act III, scene 2 - Aria of Selinda, "Non vi fidate"
Act III, scene 3 - Aria of Pompeo, "Parti dagli occhi miei"
Act III, scene 4 - Aria of Atribate, "Tu mi bramasti oppresso"
Act III, scene 5 - Duet for Tamiri and Farnace, "Tergi quel cara ciglio"
Act III, scene 7 - Chorus, "Chi serba con alma forte"
Complete score in manuscript available for viewing and downloading at http://www.internetculturale.it (Subcategory: Digital Contents)