Discourses in Music: Volume 6 Number 1 (Summer 2006)

Operatic Twins and Musical Rivals: Two Settings of Artaserse (1730)

By Robert Torre

Metastasio remarked that Artaserse was “the most fortunate of all my children.”1 The success he claimed for his libretto stems in part from the first two musical settings by Leonardo Vinci (1696-1730) and Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783). From 1730 to 1740, Theatres in Europe and England produced forty-nine musical productions based on these two operas.2 Vinci premiered Artaserse at Rome’s Teatro delle Dame on 4 February 1730 in direct collaboration with Metastasio. A new production emerged within weeks at Venice’s Teatro S. Giovanni Grisostomo.3 Giovanni Boldini, a student of the Venetian impresario Domenico Lalli, adapted Metastasio’s text. On the strength of his reputation for successes in Naples (1725-1729), Hasse was invited to set the Boldini revision at Venice. To the production’s benefit, Hasse’s cast included Francesca Cuzzoni and the castrati Nicolino and Farinelli, and the success Hasse garnered secured his next position as Kapellmeister to the Dresden court later that year.

While Artaserse represented Hasse’s first Venetian production, Leonardo Vinci was no stranger to Roman theatres; his Didone abbandonata had appeared there in 1725 to great acclaim, and he had even set several Metastasian librettos, including one of Artaserse. Rome’s Teatro delle Dame had already commissioned two operas, Alessandro nell’Indie and Artaserse, re di Persia, both new Metastasian dramas. Nicolà Porpora should have set one of them and Vinci the other; however, according to Charles Burney, Vinci set both operas for the price of one to “gratify his enmity to Porpora who was his rival in that city.”4 Vinci’s move sidelined Porpora to Rome’s Capranica, a less prestigious theatre, where he oversaw two operas, Mitridate and the revival of his successful opera from 1725, Siface.

Although they appeared together in 1730, Reinhard Strohm, who has examined possible pairings in a number of dramatic works, including a link between these two operas, has claimed that despite the similarity in subject matter (assassination attempts) and separate dedications to James III, the pretender to the English throne, and his wife Maria Clementina, little if anything unites them thematically.5 While I agree that these operas bear little commonality, one can still make a case for Artaserse as a paired drama. Instead of coupling Alessandro with Artaserse, as Strohm interprets it, I propose that Vinci’s Artaserse compares more aptly with the Venetian opera by Hasse. Several factors influence this interpretation, all of which I will develop throughout the essay. First, the Artaserse set fits within a tradition of pairing the same Metastasian libretto, albeit different versions. These pairings, when set by rival composers, often accentuate musical and theatrical rivalries. Second, a number of salient examples of textual opposition and musical similarities are present between the two productions. Finally, the two Artaserse operas may have influenced another operatic pair in London in the midst of the Handel-Porpora feud in the 1730s. Studying these works from the vantage point of their theatrical and socio-cultural contexts add further insights to the often turbulent world of eighteenth-century opera seria. In this case, the operas themselves served notorious rivalries among singers and composers.

In the eighteenth century, paired dramas were often related by common themes and narratives, whereby one setting presented one aspect of a story and the second opera offered its sequel, or some version thereof. The Arianna operas from London’s 1733-1734 season illustrate this point: Porpora gave his Arianna in Nasso on 29 December 1733 at London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre with Handel’s Arianna in Creta following on 26 January 1734 at the King’s Theatre.6 Whereas Handel’s opera told the story of the Minotaur on Crete, Porpora’s opera related Ariadne’s abandonment on Naxos by her husband Theseus. The operas, in this case, convey two different episodes from the Ariadne narrative. While no direct evidence suggests their pairing in the minds of either composer or librettist, newspapers from 1733 certainly linked them.7

This point underscores a comment by Strohm who suggests, “Dramatic pairs are brought about by certain practical circumstances of theatrical life but they may also reflect and thus reveal the cultural or political biases of their users. They function almost like amplifiers of underlying cultural messages by duplicating, contrasting, paralleling or balancing them.”8 By pairing two dramas from a larger narrative or the same libretto (as in the case of Artaserse), paired operas could serve the additional function of aiding and abetting musical rivalries between composers, singers, theatres and even cities. This factor is particularly true of theatres in Rome and Venice who vied for the latest operas from the pens of Neapolitan-trained composers, set to librettos by Pietro Metastasio. Rivalry amongst cities did not only involve Rome and Venice, but included other musical capitols such as Florence, Naples, and London.

A Metastasian Tradition

A number of Metastasio’s works, including the Vinci-Hasse set, fit within a larger practice of twin dramas. By situating Artaserse within this context, a number of precedents emerge. Rome’s Teatro delle Dame and Venice’s Teatro S. Giovanni Grisostomo served as venues for official and unofficial premieres of several Metastasian works including Artaserse.9 Between 1728 and 30, Metastasio’s Ezio, Semiramide, and Artaserse appeared as pairs during the same season – one setting per city. Neapolitan composers Pietro Auletta (1698-1771) and Porpora offered their versions of Ezio in December 1728 in Rome and Venice respectively. During the 1729 Carnival, Vinci and Porpora oversaw their versions of Semiramide in much the same fashion. Since Metastasio supervised both Roman productions, they may be considered “official” premieres. S. Giovanni Gristosomo’s impresario Domenico Lalli revised both dramas, as he had done previously, to fit the superb cast, which included the castrati Farinelli and Nicolino; Porpora’s music reflects their virtuosic abilities. Porpora offered his Venetian production of Ezio before the Roman production opened, thereby upstaging the “official” Metastasian premiere.

One cannot ignore Vinci’s and Porpora’s versions of Semiramide. According to contemporary accounts, both composers had quarreled since their days at Naples’s Conservatorio deigli poveri Giesu Cristo.10 During Carnival seasons of 1726 and 1727, both produced back-to-back operas at their respective theatres of S. Giovanni Grisostomo and Teatro delle Dame. Their long-standing rivalry continued with their dual settings of Semiramide, and culminated in 1730 with Vinci agreeing to set Alessandro and Artaserse for the price of one.

With Porpora’s absence from Venice in 1730, S. Giovanni Grisostomo’s impresario Domenico Lalli replaced Porpora with Hasse who set Artaserse. Hasse was the most logical choice; between 1725 and 1729, “the dear Saxon” (as he was known) had built a formidable reputation in Naples, earning him his first Venetian commission. Lalli himself was Neapolitan. Following his departure from Naples under suspicious circumstances, he made his way to Venice, where he then involved himself in the operatic life there.11 His primary contribution to Venetian theatre was the introduction of Neapolitan-style opera and the engagement of Neapolitan musicians like Porpora and Hasse. His gamble proved quite successful, since Venetians increasingly clamoured for operas by Neapolitans in lieu of operas by such native born composers as Antonio Vivaldi. Another fortunate stroke in Hasse’s favour included the engagement of his principal Neapolitan rivals elsewhere: Vinci and Porpora in Rome, and Leonardo Leo in Naples. Hasse’s success in Venice made him a European celebrity, since conquering Venice (then Italy’s most fashionable city) often led to important commissions elsewhere.

Apart from Hasse’s success in Naples, rivalry may have played an additional role in Hasse’s Venetian commission. Burney, in his Memoirs on the Life and Writings of the Abate Metastasio, described Vinci as the competitor of Hasse and Porpora.12 Burney’s confidence in the Hasse-Vinci competition probably stemmed from their years together in Naples, where from 1726 to 1729, both set operas at the Teatro S. Bartolomeo. Hasse also shared a rivalry with Porpora. Jean-Joseph Fétis and Burney also recount that Hasse had studied counterpoint with Porpora in Naples and then with Alessandro Scarlatti.13 This move instigated a conflict between the two that lasted throughout their careers.14 Thus, the Teatro delle Dame’s interest in hiring both Vinci and Porpora to set back-to-back operas during the 1730 season leads to the possibility that musical rivalries played an occasional role in the engagement of musicians. In this instance, their hiring likely originated from dual settings of Semiramide. Additionally, the tradition of presenting parallel dramas in Rome and Venice may reveal the key to Boldini and Hasse’s procurement of Metastasio’s libretto, since Lalli had revised and offered several Metastasian drammi in the past.

Texts-Music Relationships

While it is possible to situate the Artaserse operas within a larger tradition of paired dramas, there are also a number of textual and musical relationships. Whereas Vinci’s score follows Metastasio’s libretto with few alterations, Hasse’s score reflects Boldini’s revisions, which are drastic in places. He cuts a good deal of Metastasio’s dialogue and four of thirty-one arias, and replaced eight arias with new or modified text. In short, Boldini accentuates the more emotionally salient sections of Metastasio’s drama, presenting the text, as Dale Monson suggests, with “the emotions on the sleeves.”15

Act II serves as a good example, since most of the changes occur here, particularly toward the end of the act. Boldini deleted one-third of Metastasio’s second act. Towards the end of the act, he transforms the main character Arbace’s aria “Per quell paterno amplesso” into “Per questo dolce amplesso.”16

Fig. 1: Metastasio’s “Per quel paterno amplesso” vs. Boldini’s “Per questo dolce amplesso”
Per quell paterno amplesso,
Per questo estremo addio,
Conservami te stesso,
Placami l’idol mio,
Per questo dolce amplesso,
Per questo estremo addio,
Serbami o Padre mio
L’idolo amato.
Difendimi il mio Re
Vado a morir beato,
Se della Persia il fato
Tutto si sfoga in me.
Sol questo all’ombra mia
Pace e conforto sia
Nel fier mio fato.
While on this dear embrace, I dwell
O hear me by this last farewell!
Preserve thyself from ill, remove
This cruel scorn from her I love;
And still my king defend.
By this dear embrace,
By this last adieu,
Preserve, oh my father,
My beloved charmer.
I meet my doom without regret,
If all the woes of Persia threat
On me alone descend.
(Trans., John Hoole, 1800)
This to my shade alone,
[would be peace and comfort
In my grave destiny.]17

This conversion alters Arbace’s characterization. Metatsasio’s original text emphasizes Arbace’s choice of self-sacrifice for king and state, on the one hand, and the protection of his guilty father, on the other: “I meet my doom without regret/If all the woes that Persia threat/On me alone descend.”18 Boldini replaces Metastasio’s notion of stately duty with love, to which he devotes five lines: “Preserve, oh my father/My beloved charmer. This to my shade alone/Would be peace and comfort/In my grave destiny.”19 While the acceptance of his fate remains clear, Arbace never actually utters the words, thus deflating the moral-political tone so prized in Metastasian texts. In Metastasio’s version, Artabano (Arbace’s father and Serse’s real murderer) ends the act declaring his determination to save both his son and himself. Boldini resets the scene by plunging Artabano into deep despair and madness, providing Hasse with an accompanied recitative in which Artabano hallucinates, seeing his dead son and other horrors. This reaction ends with the famous eighteenth-century aria ‘Pallido il sole, torbido il cielo!,’ an aria detailing not his determination, as Metastasio’s setting had, but Artabano’s fear and grief.

The same year as Artaserse’s appearance in Italy, Apostolo Zeno wrote a letter to Giuseppe Gravisi in which he objected to this sort of “scant regard poets had for the ethical aspect for the theatre, seeing that they aimed to arouse the passions, particularly love, rather than to keep a rein on them.”20 Metastasio, who held Zeno in high regard, would have agreed with him on this point. Intentionally or unintentionally, Boldini’s revisions to the scene setup textual oppositions with Metastasio’s text between aroused and restrained passions, reflecting a trend found in several revised Metastasian texts for Venice, including Semiramide riconosciuta, in which the original underwent alterations to suit the virtuosic abilities of its users, who also required intensely dramatic arias. Therefore, the singer’s influence in these activities should not be excluded. It was, after all, in such arias where singer’s best proved their worth21 ; “Per questo dolce amplesso” and “Torbido il cielo” both depict this effectively.

In addition to the textual relationships explained above, a surprising number of resemblances exist between Vinci’s and Hasse’s scores. Although most apparent in their respective settings of Metastasio’s “Per quell paterno amplesso,” Hasse most likely invoked Vinci’s Artaserse when he returned to the libretto in 1760 for a version closer to Metastasio’s original, particularly “L’onda dal mar divisa.” Reinhard Strohm and Daniel Heartz have both examined these in separate studies.22 Musical borrowing was part of the compositional tradition of the early eighteenth century; theorists such as Johann Mattheson encouraged musical borrowing to facilitate a good composition. Such relationships, when viewed through the lens of operatic politics, however, beg a few questions. What do such relationships signify? Is Burney correct to describe the Vinci-Hasse relationship as a rivalry, and if so, what was the nature of the competition? Whereas Porpora and Vinci had known each other for twenty years, Hasse represented the newest interest to the shifting tastes of opera’s audiences. The notion of a friendly rivalry, one based on mutual respect, would support Reinhard Strohm’s speculation that Hasse, Vinci, and Metastasio had worked together in the planning of the opera when in 1729 all three resided in Naples.23

If valid, one wonders if, on some level, their collaboration occurred at Porpora’s expense. We know from Marpurg that Vinci went to great lengths most likely to secure his success over Porpora, including being aware and maybe even encouraging one of his supporters (possibly the castrato Berenstadt) to sabotage one of Porpora’s dress rehearsals.24 Such acts could destroy an opera’s reception, and Marpurg tells us the sabotage had its intended effect. Though Kurt Markstrom has called Berenstadt’s role into question, owing to his concurrent engagement in Florence, Markstrom believes the larger anecdote connects with known events.25 Marpurg also writes that not only were Porpora and Vinci rivals, their contention became so polarized to where each had his own theatre, group of singers, and a coffeehouse where each group would congregate to vent bitterness towards the other. If Vinci showed so much effort in attaining fame, it is possible he collaborated with Hasse. Coincidentally, Walther’s 1732 Musikalisches Lexikon mentions that Porpora was a candidate for the Kapellmeister position at the Dresden Court, but they asked Hasse instead.26 Later that season, with his engagements finished in Rome, Porpora returned to Venice; Vinci did not reap the fruits of his successful Artaserse, as he died suddenly on 28 May 1730.

Artaserse in London

The story continues. The Artaserse operas for Rome and Venice may have influenced a second pair during the 1734 theatrical season in London. Similar to Rome and Venice, theatres in London also thrived on rivalries; and in the case of the librettos Crispo and Griselda, performed as a pair at Rome’s Teatro Capranica, London impresarios most likely imported pre-existing pairs to exploit rivalries.27 Thus, it would not have been uncommon for such pairs to make their way to London stages. Specifically, I believe the Artaserse pair, as set by Vinci and Hasse, influenced a new rivalry, this time between Handel and Porpora.

Porpora arrived in London in 1733 to take up the musical leadership at the Opera of the Nobility, an opera company set-up to counter Handel’s monopoly on opera seria, and where he presented both his own compositions, such as Arianna in Nasso, and pasticcios comprised primarily of music by his Neapolitan contemporaries.28 Ellen Harris has studied many of the dramas performed by the competing companies, and asserts these productions, which included the Arianna operas, Handel’s pasticcio Arbaces (5 Jan 1734) and Porpora’s pasticcio of Hasse’s Artaserse (29 Oct 1734), functioned this way. A full list appears below.29

Fig. 2: London (1733-1734)
Opera of the Nobility
Arianna in Nasso (29 Dec. 1733)
Artaserse (20 Oct. 1734)
Davide e Bersabea (12 Mar. 1734)
Iphigenia (May 1734)
Second Royal Academy (Handel)
Arianna in Creta (26 Jan. 1734)
Arbace (5 Jan. 1734)
Deborah (2 Apr. 1734)
Oreste (12 Dec. 1734)

Handel arranged a pasticcio version of Vinci’s Artaserse (and changed the title to Arbace) hoping to defeat Porpora with music in his own style. While most of the arias come from Vinci’s Artaserse, Handel set the recitatives anew.30

The choice of libretto was undoubtedly influenced by Handel’s singers. Following Senesino’s departure from Handel’s company for Porpora’s, Handel engaged the castrato Giovanni Carestini (1700-1760) who had performed the role Arbace in Vinci’s Roman production of Artaserse. Farinelli arrived in London sometime in September 1734 to join Porpora’s company, and sang the role of Arbace in Porpora’s revision of Hasse’s Artaserse on 29 October 1734. While a score for this opera is not extant, the libretto and a set of “Favourite Songs” published by Walsh survive.31 The libretto received further alterations from Boldini’s Venetian libretto, but retains many of the popular scenes by Hasse, this time with additions by Riccardo Broschi (Farinelli’s brother) and Porpora, among others.32

Although both Vinci’s and Hasse’s versions of Artaserse remained among the most popular operas in Europe at the time, London audiences favoured the Opera of the Nobility’s production over Handel’s offering. The presence of some of Europe’s best singers, including Farinelli, Cuzzoni and Senesino, gave Porpora the logistical advantage. That Porpora answered Handel’s Arbace with Hasse’s Artaserse seems quite natural: both operas remained popular on the continent; Farinelli had excelled in the role three years before, and Francesca Cuzzoni had sung the prima donna role in Venice. Moreover, the success of Hasse’s opera in London followed a trend outlined by Dale Monson; namely that while both Vinci’s and Hasse’s scores remained popular throughout the eighteenth century, existing libretti from 1730-1740 show a preference for Hasse’s music.33

In summary, Vinci’s and Hasse’s respective settings of Artaserse function well as an operatic pair. Their relationships are clear on both textual and musical levels, which was not always the case with twin operas. Vinci’s and Porpora’s settings of Semiramide, for example, exhibit no musical similarities, but their combination contributed to the rivalry supposed of those composers. It was an opportunity for each composer to try to outdo the other, thus producing a number of ultra-dramatic settings of Metastasio’s early librettos. While the singers involved have remained in the background of this essay, they seem to have played an essential role in this process, one that requires further investigation. More importantly, as artifacts of theatre history, these musical twins and others like it, give scholars better insight into settecento opera, its socio-political amplifiers, and those that supported them.

Robert Torre is a Ph.D. student in musicology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Much of his recent research has centered on the music of eighteenth-century Italy and Germany, their various cultural intersections, and serious opera at Naples in the first thirty years of the eighteenth century.

Works Cited

Aspden, Suzanne. “Ariadne’s Clew: Politics, Allegory, and Opera in London (1734).” The Musical Quarterly 85 (2001): 735-770.

Burney, Charles. A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period. 2 vols. London: T. Becket, J. Robson, and G. Robinson, 1776-1789.

Burney, Charles. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Abate Metastasio. 3. Vols. London: G.G. and J. Robinson, 1796.

Cervantes, Xavier. “Handel, Porpora, and the ‘Windy Bumm’.” Early Music 29:4 (November, 2001): 607-616.

--------------------. “ ‘Touching Handel yields to trifling Hasse’: Händel, the Opera of the Nobility, and the New Style—Some New Insights.” Händel-Jahrbuch 45 (1999): 261-269.

Clausen, Hans. Händels Direktionpartituren (Händexemplare). Hamburg: Verlag der Musikalienhandlung, 1972.

Fétis, François-Joseph. Biographies universelle des musicians et bibliographies générale de la musique. 8 vols. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1883.

Fürstenau, Moritz. Zur Geschichte der Musik und des Theaters am Hofe zu Dresden. 2 vols. Dresden,1861-1862.

Harris, Ellen T. The Librettos of Handel’s Operas. 13 Vols. New York: Garland Press, 1989.

Heartz, Daniel. “Maestri dei maestri di cappella drammatici.” In Metastasio e il mondo musicale, 315-338. Edited by Teresa Muraro. Florence: Olschiki, 1986.

Markstrom, Kurt. “Metastasio’s Delay in Reaching Vienna.” Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario 16 (1996): 1-45.

Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Krititischer Briefe über die Tonkunst: mit kleinen Clavierstücken und singoden begleitet. Berlin: F.W. Birnstiel, 1759-1764; reprint, Hildesheim: Olhms 1974.

McGeary, Thomas. “ Handel, Prince Frederick, and the Opera of the Nobility Reconsidered.” Göttinger Händel-Beiträge 7 (1998): 156-178.

Metastasio, Pietro. Dramas and Other Poems of the Abate Pietro Metastasio. Edited by John Hoole. 3 Vols. London: Otridge and Son, 1800.

Monson, Dale. “The Dramatic Tradition of Artaserse.” Unpublished Paper, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Strohm, Reinhard. Die Opernarien des frühen Settecento (1720-1730). Analecta Musicologica 16 Cologne: Volk-Verlag, 1976.

--------------------. “Dramatic Dualities: Metastasio and the Tradition of the Opera Pair.” Early Music 26:4 (November, 1998): 551-561.

--------------------. Dramma per Musica: Italian Opera Seria of the Eighteenth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

Taylor, Carole. “Handel and the Prince of Wales.” The Musical Times 125 (February, 1984): 156-178.

Walther, Johann Gottfried. Musicalisches Lexikon oder musikalische Bibliothek, 1732. Edited by Richard Schall. Documenta Musicologica 3. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1953.


1. Charles Burney, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Abate Metastasio, 3 vols. (London, 1796), 1, 121.

2. Dale Monson, ‘The Dramatic Tradition of Artaserse’ (Unpublished paper), 1. I am grateful to Dr. Monson for providing me a copy of his text.

3. The exact date for the premier of Hasse’s Artaserse remains unknown beyond month and year, February 1730. Strohm speculates that it occurred as early as two weeks after Vinci’s Roman performance. Reinhard Strohm, “The Neapolitans in Venice,” Dramma per Musica: Italian Opera Seria of the Eighteenth century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 78.

4. Charles Burney, A General History of Music (1776-89; reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1957), 2, 916.

5. Reinhard Strohm, “Dramatic Dualities: Metastasio and the Tradition of the Opera Pair,” Early Music 26:4 (November 1998): 551-561. During the 1720s and 1730s, James III, the pretender king to the English throne lived in Rome, in exile. Not only did he profess Catholicism, he also maintained a strong love for opera, endowing many productions at Rome’s delle Dame. For more on James III and his life in exile, see Edward T. Corp, “The Exiled Court of James II and James III: A Centre of Italian Music in France, 1689-1712,” Journal of the Royal Music Association 120: 2 (1995): 216-231; “Music at the Stuart Court in Urbino (1717-18),” Music and Letters 81:3 (August, 2000): 351-363; on the Roman period specifically, see Edward Corp, ed. The Stuart Court in Rome: the Legacy of Exile (Burlington, VT and Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2003).

6. Suzanne Aspden, “Ariadne’s Clew: Politics, Allegory, and Opera in London (1734),” The Musical Quarterly 85 (2001): 735-770.

7. London Evening Post, December 22-25, 1733.

8. Strohm, “Dramatic Dualities,” 551.

9. The distinction between “official” and “unofficial” premiere is important. An official presentation of an opera meant usually that the librettist directed or at least advised the production, whereas an unofficial production constituted one in which the librettist was not only absent, but a new librettist made textual changes to the libretto. While the shuffling off of new librettos for rearrangement for new productions in other cities was an important aspect of opera seria’s culture, Metastasio seems to have exacted rather more authorial control over his works, evidenced by quotation marks found in altered librettos. Asterisks denoted Metastasio’s original text.

10. Burney, History of Music, 2, 916.

11. Lalli was implicated in a money scandal in 1706. After being accused of stealing money from the Brotherhood of Annunziata, he fled Naples for Rome, and later settled in Venice. For more on Lalli, see Strohm, “Neapolitans in Venice,” especially 66-67; Frank Walker, “Emanuele d’Astorga and a Neapolitan Librettist,” Monthly Musical Record 81 (1951): 90-96.

12. Burney, Metastasio, 1, 72. Burney’s comment appears in a footnote: “This original and admirable composer [Leonardo Vinci], the competitor of Porpora and Hasse, seems to have died during the long run of Artaserse.”

13. See Burney, General History, 2, 918; “It resulted in a hatred between them that increased with time.” François-Joseph Fétis, Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique, 2nd ed. (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1883), 7, 98.

14. In addition to Hasse’s and Porpora’s rivalry in Italy, their competitiveness came to the fore once again when the Dresden court brought Porpora in late 1747 to act as the music teacher to the Electoral Princess of Saxony, Maria Antonia Walpurgus. His student, the soprano Regina Mingotti accompanied Porpora and not only accentuated pre-existing tensions between Hasse and Porpora, but instigated a new rivalry with Hasse’s wife Faustina Bordoni. Though Porpora later gained the title of Kapellmeister to the Dresden court, Hasse received a higher position, and in 1752, the court pensioned off Porpora. For more on Porpora in Dresden, see Moritz Fürstenau, Zur Geschichte der Musik und des Theaters am Hofe zu Dresden (Dresden, 1861-1862).

15. Monson,“Dramatic Tradition,” 6.

16. Arbace is accused of killing Serse, the father of Artaserse and his beloved Mandane. When they learn of this accusation, everyone, including his father Artabano (who is the real murderer) abandon him. In the scene in which our example takes place, his father visits him in prison hoping to rescue him. Arbace gives in to his fate as he realized his father’s guilt.

17. English trans.: [Pietro Metastasio], Artaxerxes (London: Charles Bennett, 1734), GB-cfm. The bracketed section denotes an alteration in text for the 1734 pastiche in London. That text read: “Dolce conforto sia/ Del fier mio fato.” (“Can be sweet comfort/ of my cruel fate.”). The changes are not present in Walsh’s print, “The Favourite Songs from the Opera Call’d Artaxerxes by Signr. Hasse.”

18. English translations derive from Pietro Metastasio, Dramas and Other Poems of the Abate Pietro Metastasio, 3 vols., ed. John Hoole (London: Otridge and Son, 1800), 1, 54. “Vado a morir beato/Se della Persia il fato/Tutto si sfoga in me.”

19. “Serbami o Padre mio/L’idolo amato. Sol questa all’ombra mia/Pace, e conforto sia/Nel fier mio fato.” Pietro Metastasio, Artaserse (Venezia: Carlo Buonarigo, 1730).

20. Apostolo Zeno to Giuseppe Gravisi (3 November 1730) paraphrased in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, s.v. “Zeno, Apostolo,” (by Elena diFelice),, (accessed on 24 June 2004).

21. Strohm recently challenged scholars to reassess the role of singers in the socio-cultural contexts of the creation of eighteenth-century opere serie. For more, see Reinhard Strohm, “The Agency of Singers in Opera Seria: A Study of Social Action,” Eleventh Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, United Kingdom, July 14-18, 2004.

22. Hasse’s 1760 revision is faithful to Metastasio’s original text, while the 1740 revision for Dresden contains many of Boldini’s texts from the 1730 production in Venice. For more on the musical similarities between Vinci’s and Hasse’s Artaserse settings, see Daniel Heartz, “Maestri dei maestri di cappella drammatici,” in Metastasio e il mondo musicale, ed. Teresa Muraro, 315-338 (Firenze: Olschiki, 1986); Reinhard Strohm, Die Opernarien des frühen Settecento (1720-1730), Analecta Musicologica 16 (Köln: Volk-Verlag, 1976); “The Neapolitans in Venice,” Dramma per Musica. Other scenes bearing musical similarities include the final duet “Tu vuoi ch’io viva o cara” from the 1730 version and “Deh respirar” from Hasse’s 1740 revision for Dresden. Heartz considers “L’onda dal mar divisa” in Hasse’s 1760 score based on Vinci’s 1730 version.

23. Strohm, “Neapolitans,” 78.

24. Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, Kritischer Briefe über die Tonkunst: mit kleinen Clavierstücken und singoden begleitet (Berlin, 1760; reprint, Hildesheim: Ohlms), 1, 225-227.

25. Kurt Markstrom,“Metastasio’s Delay in reaching Vienna,” Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario 16 (1996): 18.

26. “Man sagt: er [Porpora] solle an des Hrn. Heinichens Stelle, Königl. Polnischer und Chur-Sächs. Capellmeister werden.” Johann Gottfried Walther, Musicalisches Lexikon oder musikalische Bibliothek, 1732, ed. Richard Schall, Documenta Musicologica 3 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1953), 488. Between February and July 1730, Hasse began to use the title “Primo maestro di cappella di S.M. Re Augusto di Polonia ed Elettore di Sassonia.” His engagement in Dresden must have come on the heels of Artaserse. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, s.v. ‘Hasse, Johann Adolf,’ (by Sven Hansell),, (Accessed 8 July 2004).

27. For an extended discussion on the Crispo-Griselda pair and its importation to London, consult Strohm, “Dualities,” 556.

28. For more on Handel-Porpora feud and the Opera of the Nobility, see Xavier Cervantes, “Handel, Porpora, and the ‘Windy Bumm,’ Early Music 29:4 (November, 2001): 607-616; “‘Touching Händel Yields to Trifling Hasse’: Händel, the Opera of the Nobility, and the New Style—Some New insights,” Händel-Jahrbuch 45 (1999): 261-269; Thomas McGeary, “Handel, Prince Frederick, and the Opera of the Nobility Reconsidered,” Göttinger Händel-Beiträge 7 (1998): 156-178; Carole Taylor, “Handel and the Prince of Wales,” The Musical Times 125 (February, 1984): 89-92; Alan Bligh Yorke Long, “Opera of the Nobility” (Ph.D. diss., 1951), London, The British Library, provides much information on personnel, patrons, origins, and other important matters related to this opera company.

29. Ellen T. Harris, ed., The Librettos of Handel’s Operas, 13 vols. (New York: Garland Press, 1989), 7, viii-ix.

30. The partitura for Handel’s Arbaces survives in D-Hs. For an analysis, see Hans Clausen, Händels Direktionspartituren (‘Händexemplare’) (Hamburg: Verlag der Musikaliensammlung,1972); Reinhard Strohm, “Handel’s Pasticci,” in Essays on Handel and Italian Opera (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 164-213.

31. Facsimile reprint in Bibliotheca Musica Bononiensis (Bologna: Foni, 1980); ARTAXERXES/AN/ OPERA/ AS PERFORM’D at the/…/HAY-MARKET. Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum Library, University of Cambridge, Mu Ms 1343c.

32. Only two arias from Hasse’s original score appear in this print, “Per questo dolce amplesso” and “Pallido il sole,” both of which Farinelli helped popularize throughout the eighteenth century.

33. For more, see Monson, “Artaserse.”