Dramma per musica in three acts
Dresdner Fassung (1763)
Music by Johann Adolph Hasse
Concertante performance in Italian
Tuesday, 21 April 2015, 7 pm
Conductor: George Petrou
With Max Emanuel Cencic et al.
Johann Adolf Hasse began his career in Italy, before becoming Kapellmeister at the Saxon court in Dresden in 1733, a post he held for thirty years. However, when he presented his opera Siroe on 2 May 1733 at the Teatro Malvezzi in Bologna he was still in Italy. He had composed it for the most famous singers of his day, the castrati Farinelli and Caffarelli and the soprano Vittoria Tesi. These stars helped make the opera an immediate international success, and the score reflects their exceptional talent as singers. The libretto was by Hasse’s friend Pietro Metastasio, Europe’s foremost opera author. The text, written in 1726, was set to music not only by Hasse, but also by George Frideric Handel. Family turmoil that centres on a lust for power, love, hatred and revenge at the court of the Persian king keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and inspired Hasse to produce one of his most outstanding compositions: King Cosroe of Persia wishes to install his ambitious son Medarse as heir to the throne instead of his first-born son, Siroe. The princess Emira is living at court, disguised as a man. Long ago her father was murdered by Cosroe and now she intends to kill him. Besides this, she is also Siroe’s secret lover, but he refuses to help her with her plans for vengeance. Cosroe’s mistress, Laodice, tries to seduce Siroe, but he rejects her advances. Offended, Laodice besmirches his name to Cosroe. The situation for Siroe seems hopeless. In the end, the people rise up in support of the rightful crown prince and the confusion can be resolved. Forgiveness all round leads to a new beginning with Siroe and Emira as Persia’s royal couple.