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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
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Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

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The Rise and Fall of Andromache on the operatic Stage, 1660s–1820s*

The Rise and Fall of Andromache on the operatic Stage, 1660s–1820s*

(p.112) 7 The Rise and Fall of Andromache on the operatic Stage, 1660s–1820s*
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage

Suzana Ograjenšek

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the rise and fall of Andromache on the operatic stage. Andromache was the tragic subject tackled by the largest number of eighteenth-century composers and one of the most popular eighteenth-century operatic subjects overall. This popularity is linked with the popularity of the source on which the eighteenth-century Andromache operatic librettos were based: Racine's Andromaque (1667). However, the success of Andromache on the operatic stage — chiefly associated with the Astianatte libretto of Antonio Salvi, first set in 1701 — was due to two main factors. The first is the general sentiments of the period, which began to encourage the expression of human feeling. The second is the suitability of Racine's tragedy to lend itself as a subject for operatic reform. Apart from Salvi, two other librettists who wrote an early eighteenth-century Andromache libretto were Pietro d'Averara in 1701 and Apostolo Zeno in 1724.

Keywords:   Greek tragedy, tragic plots, eighteenth-century opera, Andromache, libretto, Racine, Andromaque, Antonio Salvi, Pietro d'Averara, Apostolo Zeno

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