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Eliogabalo (Heliogabalus) is an opera by the Italian composer Francesco Cavalli based on the life of the Roman emperor Heliogabalus. The author of the original libretto is unknown but it was probably reworked by Aurelio Aureli (it). The opera was composed in 1667 and was intended to be premiered during the Venetian Carnival season of 1668. In fact, it was never staged[1] and was replaced by another opera of the same name by Giovanni Antonio Boretti, perhaps because Cavalli's style was considered too old-fashioned.

Eliogabalo was revived at La Monnaie in 2004 by René Jacobs. Its North American premiere took place in 2007 at the Aspen Music Festival, conducted by Jane Glover.[2] Gotham Chamber Opera in performed it in 2013 in a Manhattan nightclub in Chrystie Street, Richard Kimmel's The Box, directed by James Marvel.[3][4] In a co-production with the Dutch National Opera, the Paris Opera opened its 2016/17 season in the Palais Garnier with Eliogabalo under the baton of Leonardo García Alarcón and with Franco Fagioli in the title role, Paul Groves as Alessandro, Nadine Sierra as Flavia, Valer Barna-Sabadus (de) as Giuliano, Elin Rombo as Eritrea.[5]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 1668
(Conductor: - )
Eliogabalo countertenor[citation needed]
Alessandro Cesare mezzo-soprano
Giuliano Gordio countertenor[citation needed]
Flavia Gemmira soprano
Anicia Eritea soprano
Atilia Macrina soprano
Lenia tenor
Zotico mezzo-soprano
Nerbulone bass-baritone
Two consuls


  1. ^ Ellen Rosand (ed), Readying Cavalli's Operas for the Stage: Manuscript, Edition, Production, Farnham/Burlington, Ashgate, 2013, p. 64, ISBN 9781409412182.
  2. ^ "Racy Eliogabalo gets new life" by Kyle MacMillan, The Denver Post, 22 August 2007
  3. ^ "Shock Tactics" by Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 8 April 2013
  4. ^ "An Emperor in Drag and Other Decadencies" by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 19 March 2013
  5. ^ Eliogabalo, 2016 performance details, Paris Opera

External links[edit]

  • Eliogabalo, Brenac, Jean-Claude, Le magazine de l'opéra baroque (in French)