Ercole su'l Termodonte

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Ercole su'l Termodonte
Dramma per musica by Antonio Vivaldi
Probable portrait of Antonio Vivaldi, c. 1723
LibrettistAntonio Salvi
23 January 1723 (1723-01-23)

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).[1] The opera was premiered on 23 January 1723 in Rome's Teatro Capranica.[2] Due to a papal edict preventing women from appearing onstage in Rome, it premiered with castrati singing all the female roles.[1] Vivaldi was both conductor and violin soloist.

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,[2] 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) Giacinto 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.




  1. ^ a b Vitali, 2007
  2. ^ a b, 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).

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