Had our musical friends over last night and had prepared them for a treat with this new BD. I spent quite a while researching to get information and the synopsis, something not easy as this is a very unknown work. We sat through Act 1 but gave up as it was totally unenjoyable, particularly for my wife who dislikes opera anyway and this one had the worst of her dislikes – heaps of high female singing.
• Not Eurotrash – tasteful and appropriate staging and costume
• Small orchestra but good playing
• Some good artistry
• Tediously slow storyline and action
• Long, long arias
• Only one male singer with women singing three of the major male roles - their female voices similar to one another so offering little musical contrast
Pergolesi is justly known for his lovely “Stabat Mater” but is unlikely to become better known through his operas. The poor guy died at 26 and only wrote six we know of anyway.
I’ll append the “plot” having spent so much time teasing it out so I do not want to completely waste the effort. Sadly however this is a production, raved about by the BBC Magazine, that I cannot recommend.
THE SYNOPSIS: [The opera is set in 117AD]
Adriano - Emperor of Rome – has defeated Osroa in battle – but has fallen in love with Emirena despite betrothal to Sabina
Sabina – betrothed to Adriano
Osroa- king of Parthians
Emirena – daughter of Osoa
Farnaspe – a Parthian Prince – granted the hand of Emirena by Osroa
Aquilo – a confidant of Adriano – wants Sabina
Farnaspe, accompanied by Osroa (conceals his identity) asks Adriano to release Emirena from captivity so he can marry her. This upsets Adriano who wants Emirena for himself. But Aquilo, who lusts after Sabina, wants to encourage the match so urges Emirena to distance herself from Farnaspe to avoiding Adriano’s jealous rage.
Farnaspe is subsequently bewildered by Emirina’s dismissive attitude to him. However Adriano’s hopes for Emirena are dashed when his bethrothed Sabina arrives unexpectedly from Rome. Aquilo snakily points out Emirena as her rival.
During the night the imperial palace is set on fire by the soldiers to avenge the defeat of Osroa. Farnaspe is unjustly accused of having started the fire and is arrested but is reconciled with Emirena.
Emirena assures Sabina that she loves Farnaspe so Sabina promises to arrange for their escape. She then rails at Adriano for deceiving her by pursuing Emirena.
However the escape is interrupted by Osroa, dressed as Roman, who claims he has killed Adriano. But Adriano is unharmed and is confronted by Farnaspe who claims responsibility. However Emirena, not recognizing her father, accuses him as the would-be assassin. The furious Adriano, now aware of Osroa’s identity, orders all three be imprisoned.
The devious Aquilio persuades Sabina to leave and then suggests Adriano returns the Parthian throne to Osroa in exchange for the hand of Emirena.
Osroa pretends to consult with Emirena and retuns to inform Adriano that his daughter will have nothing to do with him. He then encourages his daughter to hate Adriano but Farnaspe begs Emirena to offer herself to the Emperor to save her father and Parthia.
However Adriano becomes suspicious of Sabina’s sudden departure and uncovers Aquilio’s scheming. Emirena and Farnaspe plead with Adriano to release Osroa but he refuses. But he is moved by the nobility of Emirena, who is willing to give up her love of Farnaspe to save her father and country.
So the opera ends happily with Adriano giving Osroa back his freedom and kingdom while agreeing to the marriage between Farnaspe and Emirena He also forgives Aquilio and promises to marry Sabina.
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Topic - BD Opera: Pergolesi “Adriano in Siria” – BORING - John C. - Aussie 14:03:22 03/12/12 (0)