Anna Bonitatibus / Merope 1280x680 © Frank Bonitatibus

Content / Background

A forced marriage is prevented: to take control of Cresfonte’s kingdom his brother Polifonte plans to have him and his children murdered by Anassandro, a former confidant of Cresfonte’s wife, Queen Merope. The murder is carried out. Merope is forced to give up the kingdom. Her son Epitide survived the catastrophe because he was in Aetolia at the time. The tyrannical Polifonte falls in love with Merope and wants to marry her. She asks him for ten years’ grace, secretly hoping that her grown-up son will return. Epitide succeeds in reaching his mother on the last day of the grace period. He deposes Polifonte, wins back the kingdom and prevents his mother’s forced marriage. The composer Riccardo Broschi wrote many of his operatic roles for the famous castrato Farinelli. And no wonder, since Farinelli, whose real name was Carlo Broschi, was his brother. In 1732 Merope premiered in Turin with Farinelli in one of the lead roles. In 2019, Alessandro De Marchi, artistic director of the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, revives this outstanding Baroque opera.