Belcanto Rarities Vol. IV GEMINIANO GIACOMELLI: Cesare in Egitto

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Geminiano Giacomelli
Cesare in Egitto
Dramma per musica in 3 atti
Venice, 1735
Libretto by  Carlo Goldoni and Domenico Lalli after an anonymous libretto based on Giacomo Francesco Bussani’s ‘Giulio Cesare in Egitto’ (1676).
Article No.: BR 4.
Full score (A4, adhesive binding, 343 pages).
Urtext edition and Introduction (‘Transformations of a libretto’) by Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg.
The edition includes a line-by-line comparison of the librettos set by Giacomelli for Milano and Venice in 1735 and a critical apparatus.
Cast:
Giulio Cesare (Mezzosoprano)
Tolomeo (Tenor)
Cornelia (Contralto)
Cleopatra (Soprano)
Lepido (Mezzosoprano)
Achilla (Contralto/Alto)
Orchestra:
Trombe (Corno) da caccia I, II; Violino I, II; Viola; Basso Continuo.
This setting of Geminiano Giacomelli’s ‘Cesare in Egitto’ for the teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice in 1735 is not just a revival of the work he wrote earlier in the same year for Milan, but basically an entirely new opera. He provided a fascinating, very virtuosic new score for some of the best young singers of his generation, including the castrato Felice Salimbeni in the title role, Vittoria Tesi as Cornelia and Angelo Amorevoli as Tolomeo in a very demanding tenor role.
The libretto was adapted by the young Carlo Goldoni, who was employed as poet at the teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, before he embarked on a writing career which made him eventually the most important Italian playwright of the 18th century.
The edition contains a substantial ‘Introduction’ (15 pages), which follows the history of this famous libretto from Bussani’s original text for Cavalli 1676, via Handel’s setting in London to Giacomelli’s versions and beyond.
A line-by-line comparison of the complete librettos (24 pages) shows the extend of Goldoni’s adaption and makes it clear that Giacomelli created an entirely new opera for Venice, a work which was considered Giacomelli’s masterpiece.

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