Cajo Fabrizio 1280x680 © Hermine Karigl-Wagenhofer

Dramma per musica in three acts (1732)

Music by Johann Adolph Hasse

Libretto by Apostolo Zeno

Concert performance in Italian

Monday, 25 January 2021, 7 pm

Content / Background

For the highly talented Johann Adolph Hasse, son of a Hamburg family of musicians, northern Germany offered few prospects of a career as a composer of European standing. So from 1722 he trained under Porpora and Scarlatti in Naples, the heartland of opera, and his first operas made him one of the most popular composers in Italy. After his training Hasse married the singer Faustina Bordoni, hailed as “La nuova sirena”, and one year later settled in Dresden where, as kapellmeister at the court, he shaped musical life for three decades. King Augustus granted the composer and his Italian wife many liberties, and the couple regularly departed for extended trips to Italy. In 1732, Hasse composed Cajo Fabricio for the Teatro Capranica in Rome to a libretto by Apostolo Zeno, Pietro Metastasio’s predecessor as court poet in Vienna. Because women were forbidden from performing on theatre stages in Rome by order of the pope, Hasse did not write a stand-out role for his wife, instead choosing an entirely male ensemble for the premiere of Cajo Fabricio with six castratos and one tenor. The opera is structured according to the classical form of an opera seria, with strict separation of recitatives and arias. The plot is taken from the history of Rome, but focuses on the emotional entanglements of the protagonists. The Roman senator Gaius Fabricius Luscinus is sent to Taranto because the southern Italian city with its powerful Greek influence has risen up against Rome with the aid of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. Pyrrhus, however, falls in love with Sestia, Gaius Fabricius’ daughter, even though she is already promised to the Roman soldier Volusio. The historical Pyrrhus really did manage to defeat the Romans in the battle of Asculum, but his losses were so heavy that he afterwards remarked: “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.” A victory as the start of inevitable defeats has since entered the language as the term “Pyrrhic victory”.


Musikalische Leitung & Konzertmeisterin

Martyna Pastuszka

Cajo Fabrizio

Max Emanuel Cencic


Nian Wang


Suzanne Jerosme


Dilyara Idrisova


Bruno de Sá


Nicholas Tamagna


Benjamin Hulett


{oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna


Tickets Buy tickets now

Cajo Fabricio

Theater an der Wien,Wien

Date/Time Venue/Location Price Ticketlink
Mon, 25.01.20217:00 pm Cajo Fabrizio
Theater an der Wien, Linke Wienzeile 6Wien1060