Medea is an opera in three acts composed by Giovanni Pacini to a libretto by Benedetto Castiglia. It premiered on 28 November 1843 at the Teatro Carolino in Palermo, conducted by the composer with Geltrude Bortolotti in the title role. The libretto is based on the plays Medea by Euripides and Médée by Pierre Corneille.
Following its premiere on 28 November 1843 at the Teatro Carolino on Palermo, Pacini revised the work for its performance at the Teatro Eretenio in Vicenza in 1845. It was further revised for its first performance at La Fenice in Venice on 9 March 1850. The final and definitive version premiered at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples on 26 February 1853. For two decades Pacini's Medea enjoyed considerable popularity in Italy, Russia and South America. It then fell into obscurity, eclipsed by Bellini's Norma which has a similar story and Cherubini's Médée which in the 20th century became a vehicle for Maria Callas.
However, it has had some modern revivals, most notably the 1993 performance at the Teatro Comunale Chiabrera in Savona conducted by Richard Bonynge with Jolanta Omilian in the title role (a live recording was released on the Agora label), and the 2006 semi-staged production at the Teatro Antico in Taormina conducted by Tyrone Paterson with Simona Baldolini in the title role.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere cast
28 November 1843
|Medea, a sorceress and Giasone's wife||soprano||Geltrude Bortolotti|
|Glauce, daughter of Creonte, betrothed to Giasone||soprano|
|Cassandra, a priestess||soprano|
|Licisca, Medea's servant||soprano|
|Giasone||tenor||Giovanni Battista Pancani|
|Creonte, King of Corinth||bass||Luigi Valli|
|Calcante, a priest||bass|
The heroic warrior Giasone, wants to abandon his wife Medea, the mother of his two children to marry Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth. In revenge, Medea murders the children and then commits suicide.
Notable arias and duets
- "Odi sola in preda" - duet, Giasone and Medea, Act 1
- "Ah dolci nel seno - Medea in the finale of Act 3 (added in the 1845 Vicenza revision)
- Casaglia (2005)
- Amadeus (15 June 2006)
- According to Dizionario dell'opera
- Gelli (2007)
- Amadeus La “Medea” di Pacini a Taormina, 15 June 2006. Online version accessed 25 October 2009 (in Italian).
- Balthazar, S. L., Rose, Michael, and Kaufman, T., "Pacini, Giovanni", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2nd Edition, 2001. ISBN 0-333-60800-3
- Casaglia, Gherardo, "28 Novembre 1843" "9 Marzo 1850", "26 Febbraio 1853", Almanacco Amadeus, 2005. Accessed 25 October 2009
- Gelli, Piero (ed.), Medea, Dizionario dell'Opera, at myword.it. Accessed online 26 October 2009 (in Italian).
- Pacini, Giovanni, Le mie memorie artistiche, G. G. Guidi, 1865
- Sound clip from Pacini's Medea on Opera Today