Antonio Lotti: Giove in Argo


Giove in Argo was the twenty-first of Lotti's twenty-three operas, performed in Dresden in November 1717.
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The opera requires a cast of eight*, and the original performers are shown next to the roles:

Arete             Castrato (Alto)         Francesco Bernardi ('Senesino')
Iside              Soprano                     Santa Stella Lotti
Erasto           Castrato (Soprano)     Matteo Berselli
Calisto           Soprano                     Antonio Maria Laurenti
Diana             Contralto                  Vittoria Tesi
Licaone          Tenor                        Francesco Guiccardi
Cleone            Basso                         Giuseppe Boschi
Vespetta          Soprano                    Livia Constantini
Milo                Basso                       Lucrezio Borsari

The instrumentation is 2 violins, 2 oboes, 2 flutes, 2 horns (corni da caccia), viola, bass and keyboard continuo.

* The role of CLEONE is entirely absent from the libretto and score (except for the list of performers). MILO has no arias, only recitative.

In the libretto, a revised cast list has been pasted onto the page, suggesting a last-minute revision after printing. Magherita Zani was to play CALISTO, Luccia Gaggi was DIANA, with Giuseppe Boschi as MILO. It seems likely that the roles were revised, presumably 'owing to the indisposition of Sig. Boschi'. 

An alternative performance suggestion is for the Castrato roles to be performed down an octave by Tenor and Bass, instead of Soprano and Alto.

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Licaone, the tyrant of Arcadia, has been overthrown and exiled, and is now hiding in the forests of Argo in the guise of a shepherd, to plan his revenge. In pursuit of Licaone is Iside, princess of Arcadia, seeking vengeance for the murder of her father, Inaco. Tired from searching, she falls asleep, and is discovered by the shepherd Arete. On waking, Iside is courted by Arete, who promises to help her in her quest, in return for her love. However, Iside is already promised to Osiris, the King of Egypt, and she struggles with her constancy.
Erasto is searching the woods, too: for Iside. He also meets Arete, who takes an instant dislike to Erasto, and discerns his true identity as Osiris. Arete provokes Erasto’s jealousy, suggesting that Iside has already forsaken him for another.
There are yet more wanderers in the woods: Calisto, the daughter of Licaone, is looking for her father, but runs into the goddess Diana and her nymphs. She pledges to stay in Diana’s service, and resist the affections of men. But she too meets the handsome shepherd Arete, who courts her. Iside overhears, and is furious. Arete manages to placate her with sweet words. These, in turn, are overheard by Erasto, who is now angry at Iside’s faithlessness.
Calisto is reunited with her father, but he is wary of her, believing that Arete has turned her against him. Calisto protests her innocence and urges her father to flee. Arete returns to court Calisto once more, and this is witnessed by Diana, who accuses Calisto of breaking her vow and condemns her to death. Iside finally encounters Licaone, and hurls a dart at him.
Arete is of course no mere mortal, but the god Jupiter in disguise. He reveals himself, appeases Diana (his daughter), and assures all parties of their fidelity, and all ends well.

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The libretto was written by Antonio Maria Lucchini (c.1690 - 1730).

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A FULL SCORE of the complete opera is available to download as a PDF. Instrumental parts are available on request.

This is a part of our series of all Lotti's surviving opera scores.