Dramma per musica in three acts (1734)
Music by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Libretto by Pietro Metastasio
Opera in concert in Italian
Friday, 16 December 2016, 7 pm until 9:45 pm (Intermission: 8:20 pm)
Intrigues surrounding power and love in ancient Syria: The Roman emperor Adriano must choose between Sabina, his betrothed, and Emirena, the daughter of his enemy, Osroe. Marrying Emirena would ensure peace between the Romans and the Parthians, but Emirena is already in love with the prince Farnaspe. Both are prepared to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of peace. Adriano, impressed by such selflessness, returns to Sabina and allows the union of Emirena and Farnaspe. When Giovanni Battista Pergolesi began work on this Metastasian libretto in 1734 he was only 24 years old. It was to become his third opera seria, and he wrote the role of Farnaspe especially for the famous mezzo-soprano castrato, Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli. But Pergolesi also provided dramatic music for the couple consisting of seconda donna and secondo uomo and for other supporting roles such as the scheming Aquilio. The composer died of tuberculosis only two years later.