Ercole su'l Termodonte
Ercole su'l Termodonte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɛrkole sul termoˈdonte]; Hercules in Thermodon) is a baroque Italian opera in three acts. In 1723, it became the sixteenth opera set to music by Antonio Vivaldi. Its catalogue number is RV 710. The libretto was written by Antonio Salvi (not Giacomo Francesco Bussani as previously misattributed). The opera was premiered January 23, 1723 in Rome's Teatro Capranica. Due to a papal edict preventing women from appearing onstage in Rome, it premiered with castrati singing all the female roles. Vivaldi was both conductor and solo violinist.
Although the score was believed to have been lost, 30 arias and 2 duets were discovered in several archives, and the rest of the opera was reconstructed by Alessandro Ciccolini.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere cast, 1723
(Conductor: Antonio Vivaldi )
|Hercules (Ercole)||tenor||Giovanni Battista Pinacci|
|Antiope, Queen of the Amazons||mezzo-soprano castrato (en travesti)||Giovanni Ossi|
|Martesia, Antiope's daughter||soprano castrato (en travesti)||Girolamo Bartoluzzi|
|Hippolyte, Antiope's sister||soprano castrato (en travesti)||Domenico Fontana, "Farfallino"|
|Orizia, Antiope's second sister||soprano castrato (en travesti)||Giovanni "Tedeschino" Dreyer|
|Theseus, prince of Athens||contralto castrato||Giovanni Battista Minelli|
|Alceste, king of Sparta||soprano castrato||Giovanni Carestini|
|Telamone, king of Ithaca||contralto castrato||Giuseppe Domenico Galletti|
The story is based on the ninth of twelve legendary Labors of Hercules. To atone for killing his children in wrath, Hercules must perform twelve labors, the ninth of which is to travel to Thermodon and capture the sword of the Amazon Queen Antiope. (In other versions of the story, the quest was for her magical girdle.) The Amazons were a tribe of female warriors who put all their male children to death.
Hercules, accompanied by the heroes Theseus, Telamon and Alceste, attacks the Amazons and captures Martesia, daughter of the queen. The Amazons then capture Theseus and, as soon as Queen Antiope swears to sacrifice him, Hippolyte falls in love with him. In the end, the goddess Diana decrees the marriage of Hippolyte with Theseus, prince of Athens, and of Martesia with Alceste, king of Sparta.
- DVD: (Spoleto Festival 2006 - 2007) Vivaldi - Ercole su'l Termodonte / Il Complesso Barocco, Curtis . Performers: Zachary Stains, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Laura Cherici, Luca Dordolo, Marina Bartoli, Randall Scotting, Filippo Mineccia / Il Complesso Barocco, conductor: Alan Curtis, director: John Pascoe. Dynamic (record label), Italy.
- CD: (2010) Vivaldi - Ercole su'l Termodonte / conductor: Fabio Biondi. With Vivica Genaux, Diana Damrau, Patrizia Ciofi, Joyce DiDonato, Romina Basso, Philippe Jaroussky, Rolando Villazón, Topi Lehtipuu. Virgin Classics. Recorded January 2009 in Florence, Italy.
- Vitali, 2007
- italianopera.org, accessed 16 December 2010
- Talbot, Michael, Vivaldi and Rome: Observations and Hypotheses, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 113, No. 1, 1988, 28-46.
- Vitali, Carlo, Biondi's Labors Won, or Unearthing the Lost Vivaldi, Opera Today, 22 Oct 2007 (accessible online).