An Opera composed by Leonardo Vinci in 1725 - Libretto by Antonio Salvi
Performances on October 21, 22 & 23, 2022 at ODC Theater
A dark tale of post-Iliad trauma, vengeance, sexual havoc and threatened infanticide, composed by one of the early 18th century’s most brilliant and under-recognized operatic masters. Similar material inspired such milestones as Euripides’ Andromache, Racine’s Andromaque, and Rossini’s Ermione.
This is by far the most disturbing work Ars Minerva has revived, set in a topsy-turvy world of grim beauty where mother love counts for little, erotic attraction excuses any cruelty, and conventional gender roles are reversed: Heroic males are at the mercy of their emotions, while women are the cold voice of duty and honor. Even death itself may not be what it seems.
Troy has fallen. Andromache, widow of the Trojan hero Hector, is the prisoner of Achilles’ son Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. Pyrrhus has fallen desperately in love with his captive and now shuns his fiancée, Hermione. Andromache is revolted at the idea of marrying the son of her husband’s killer; meanwhile, Hermione is by no means willing to be spurned without a fight. Orestes arrives, bearing an ultimatum for Pyrrhus: Kill Andromache’s and Hector’s young son Astyanax (Astianatte), or face war with Greece. Not incidentally, Orestes would also be delighted to rekindle his
relationship with the jilted Hermione.
Can a happy resolution ever be found for this tragic tangle of jealousies and emotional blackmail, in which a child’s life seems to have value only as a tool for coercion?
Leonardo Vinci, (born 1690, Strongoli, died May 27, 1730, Naples), Italian composer who was one of the originators of the Neapolitan style of opera; along with Nicola Porpora, his followers included Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Johann Adolph Hasse.
Vinci’s first known work was a comic opera in the Neapolitan dialect, Lo Cecato Fauzo (1719; “The False Blind Man”). He served as chapelmaster to the prince of Sansevero and in 1725 received a conductorship of the royal chapel at Naples, a post he held until his death. His earliest extant serious opera, Silla Dittatore (1723; “Silla the Dictator”), inaugurated a series of about 40 operas, most written for Naples but some for Rome. Arias from his operas were published in London in 1758 under the title Collection of Songs. In addition to his operas, Vinci also composed oratorios, masses, and motets.
Poster made by Entropy
We are very grateful to Mr. Alexander Goodrich for generously supporting Astianatte and for being our Main Sponsor.
Stage Director: Céline Ricci
Conductor/Harpsichord: Matthew Dirst
Costumes: Marina Polakoff
Light Design: Del Medoff
Translation/Supertitles: Joe McClinton
Andromaca: Jasmine Johnson - Role originally created by Vittoria Tesi
Pirro: Deborah Rosengaus Martinez - Role originally created by Diana Vico
Oreste: Nika Printz - Role originally created by Carlo Broschi aka Farinelli
Ermione: Aura Veruni - Role originally created by Anna Maria Strada
Pilade: Daphne Touchais
Clearte: Jayne Diliberto
Astianatte: Anthony Polakoff