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Olimpia Vendicata

Olimpia Vendicata


Composed by Domencio Freschi, libretto by Aurelio Aureli

Olimpia Vendicata

(Olimpia Avenged)


A desert isle

Olimpia, a princess of Holland, dreams happily of her lover Bireno, a prince of Zealand (Denmark). But as she wakes, she discovers Bireno is gone, and his ship is vanishing over the horizon – he has marooned her on this island. More trouble is not slow to arrive: When the pirate Araspe comes ashore to replenish his ship’s water supply, he quickly takes advantage of the chance to capture this lovely new victim as a slave. Olimpia conceals her identity, taking the name Ersilla.

At King Oberto’ s palace near the seaside

The fickle Bireno, disguised as a pilgrim, has now arrived at the court of Hibernia (Ireland), seeking the beautiful woman of his dreams (apparently Olimpia didn’t measure up). When he spies the Hibernian princess Alinda arriving to cavort athletically with her attendants, he instantly recognizes his dream lover, and enlists his clever henchman Niso to discover her name.

Niso contrives a way to find out all the ladies’ names: He will sign them up for prizes in a lottery. Now that he knows Alinda’s name, Bireno, still disguised as a pilgrim, immediately accosts her and begins his suit. But she is determined to have nothing to do with love.

This is unfortunate not only for Bireno but for Osmiro, a visiting prince of Scotland, who is hopelessly in love with Alinda – as he explains to her brother, King Oberto of Hibernia, who is cheerfully philosophical about his friend’s pain.

The pirate Araspe arrives, presenting his new captive “Ersilla” in hopes of a juicy reward. King Oberto is instantly smitten with her, and arranges for Olimpia/Ersilla to join his sister’s retinue. Now he too discovers the discomforts of love.

The market plaza of Hibernia

It’s time for the lottery. Alinda encourages Ersilla to enter as well. Niso thinks he recognizes Ersilla as Olimpia, but she convincingly denies all. In the drawing, Niso makes sure Alinda receives a jeweled heart as her prize. But Alinda is immune to the symbolism, and gives the heart to Olimpia; she is still resolved never to love.


Inside the palace

King Oberto now languishes for Olimpia/Ersilla. His advances to her are cut short by his sister’s urgent call to support Osmiro, who is in even worse shape than he. Joking, Olimpia and Alinda open the jeweled heart and find an amorous message from Bireno.

Alinda is disconcerted to learn Bireno is a prince, and her resolution never to love begins to waver. Meantime Olimpia begins to muse on how to take revenge on her faithless lover.

Sent to deliver a message from Alinda to Niso, Olimpia manages once again to persuade both him and Bireno that she is merely the servant “Ersilla.” Alinda arrives and compels Niso to confirm his and Bireno’s identities, whereupon Bireno proceeds to woo her even more intently.

Besieged by both the desirable Bireno and the unwanted Osmiro, Alinda is at a loss.

At the royal fish pond

King Oberto confesses to the pirate Araspe that he has completely fallen for “Ersilla.” Meantime “Ersilla” promises to aid Bireno. The royal party all decide to go fishing. As everyone fishes from their various boats, Osmiro tries in vain to appeal to Alinda, and Oberto has equally little luck with Olimpia.



Outside Alinda’ s rooms

Olimpia’s plot is ripening. She informs Bireno that Osmiro is his rival for Alinda’s love, but if he will come to “Ersilla”’s rooms that night, she will arrange for him to attack Osmiro. But now Alinda arrives and tells Olimpia/Ersilla she wants to hold a secret rendezvous with Bireno in those same rooms that same night! She is now in love with Berino.

That evening, in Olimpia’ s rooms

King Oberto is willing to wed his sister Alinda to Osmiro, but is himself rebuffed by Olimpia, even as she is expecting Bireno. Barely getting the king out of the way in time, she invites Bireno and Niso to sit down and dine while they await Alinda’s arrival.

But the wine is drugged. The men pass out.

Olimpia is about to kill Bireno when Alinda arrives and demands an explanation. Then Osmiro arrives. Then Oberto arrives.

Olimpia reveals her true identity and tells her outraged audience the sad story of her seduction and abandonment by Bireno, her enslavement, and her plot for revenge.

King Oberto offers Olimpia his hand in marriage and she accepts. The disappointed Alinda, with some reluctance, accepts Osmiro.

As for that cad, Bireno – poetic justice is ahead. Olimpia will be avenged.

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