An opera composed by Carlo Pallavicino in 1679 - Libretto by Francesco Maria Piccioli
Online Presentation: Excerpts on December 9th 2020 at 7pm PST
Staged performances on November 19, 20 and 21, 2021 at ODC Theater
Note of Introduction: Ars Minerva is a unique and young performing arts organization. On a shoestring budget we have presented 5 annual modern world premieres of lost operas that no one else presents, producing them for Bay Area audiences since 2015, and collaborated with San Francisco Bay local artists. Messalina cast calls for 8 vocalists and 6 instrumentalists, a creative team and a technical team. Our artists, except one, will be residents of the San Francisco Bay Area and are actively contributing to the local and vital arts scene. Please consider supporting us during this difficult time.
The Plot: A sex farce with teeth. Clever, lecherous Messalina turns the tables several times on the gullible Emperor Claudius, who is hardly innocent himself. Meanwhile two other couples suffer their own romantic vicissitudes. Furtive assignations, frustrated trysts, kidnappings, betrayals, sudden recognitions, a heroine and a hero both in drag, and a plot as convoluted as only 17th-century Venetian opera can put together, all lead to a reconciliation that will last only as long as Messalina can keep pulling the wool over Claudius’ eyes.
The Composer: Carlo Pallavicino (1630-1688):
Italian composer Carlo Pallavicino wrote more than 20 operas, which premiered in the cities where he worked during his life: Venice, Italy and Dresden, Germany. He also wrote oratorios and sacred works. Pallavicino began his musical career as a church organist in 1665-66 in Padua, Italy. His first operas were staged in Venice, Italy in 1666. He moved on to the Dresden, Germany court in 1667, where he was a choirmaster for a few years. After that period, he returned to his organist position in Venice. He became the musical director of a Venice conservatory that provided musical training for orphaned children. Then, in 1685, he resumed his post in Dresden and then became director of chamber and theater music in 1687. Two of his operas were staged in Dresden, but he continued to compose mainly for Venice. Of Pallavicino’s operas, Vespasiano (staged in 1678 in Venice) was his most popular.
Artwork by Entropy
Messalina - A Preview